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Heritage chief hits at look of Campus

PUBLISHED: 10:23 08 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:23 05 July 2010

An artist's impression of the proposed Waveney Campus building.

An artist's impression of the proposed Waveney Campus building.

A landmark £52.7m council and science building planned for Lowestoft has been branded a "glorified shed" by the head of a respected heritage watchdog.

Mike Coleman, chairman of the Suffolk Preservation Society, spoke out after a series of public exhibitions on the Waveney Campus project was launched.

A landmark £52.7m council and science building planned for Lowestoft has been branded a “glorified shed” by the head of a respected heritage watchdog.

Mike Coleman, chairman of the Suffolk Preservation Society, spoke out after a series of public exhibitions on the Waveney Campus project was launched.

He said the designers of the building needed to go back to the drawing board, but last night the partners behind the project hit back and insisted they were providing an environmentally-friendly building, which would provide value for money to taxpayers.

Mr Coleman said: “It looks like a glorified shed. This is supposed to be a landmark building and I think Lowestoft deserves better.

“What I would like to see them do is revisit the plans because it just doesn't seem right at the moment. We need to see a bit more of an upmarket building. It should be an imposing building, but it just isn't. It will be interesting to see what the wider public thinks.”

The building, planned for the banks of Lake Lothing off Riverside Road, is due to open in 2010 and will house 1,000 staff from Waveney District Council, Suffolk County Council and the Cefas marine science laboratory.

Mr Coleman visited the first day of the exhibition yesterday and afterwards said he had some sympathy with the partners because they have pledged the construction costs will not rise above £52.7m.

“I think the constraints on them are very difficult in terms of finance, but I still don't think much of the design,” he added. “They have used the space well and tried to do the best they can, but externally is still lacks a lot. It's a shed with bells and whistles.”

A spokesman for the Waveney Campus partners said: “Mr Coleman has expressed a view based on a handful of images and we are pleased that, since initially speaking to the press, he has now attended the public exhibition where he received further information and a number of his concerns were addressed.

“…Our priority is to create a building that will be an exemplar of sustainable construction, offering low energy and water consumption. It will use sustainable construction, offering low energy and water consumption. It will use sustainable materials throughout and the look and design of the building have been hugely influenced by the required environmental performance of the building.”

The spokesman added: “An independent review by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) confirms that the campus project has a sound business case, offering value for money for the taxpayer and, with global concern about climate change, it is essential that we do far more than just create a good-looking building.”

The exhibition continues from 9am-2pm today at the Riverside Business Centre, in Riverside Road, Lowestoft and then at various locations around the town until March. Visit www.waveneycampus.co.uk for further details.

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