High hopes over Lowestoft Conference
PUBLISHED: 08:45 12 April 2014
Multi-million pound plans to regenerate the Lowestoft area will come under scrutiny next week when civic and business leaders set out their strategic vision for the future of the town.
The Lowestoft Conference will turn the spotlight on proposals to kickstart the local economy and address long-standing transport and flooding problems – with members of the public invited to pose questions and raise their concerns.
The conference, which takes place on Tuesday at the town’s sixth form college in Rotterdam Road, has been been set up by Waveney District Council and its leader, Colin Law.
The council says it hopes the event will enable the public to better understand how it is working together with its partner agencies to address a number of important issues in Lowestoft including economic growth, infrastructure, transport, housing, flooding, job creation and skills.
The conference, which runs from 8am to 2pm, has been organised in two parts. Everyone is free to attend a “Market Street” event between 11.30am and 2pm, with information stalls set up by a number of local organisations and businesses.
There will also be a separate event, from 8am to 11.30am, with presentations by political leaders including Waveney MP Peter Aldous, and an hour-long “Question Time” session which will allow people to quiz members of a panel comprising Mr Law, Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee and representatives from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. Entry to this part of the conference is restricted to the 200 people who applied in advance to attend. Those who have registered will however be able to view the market street stalls. This week, the conference was welcomed by Paul Thomson, managing director of the Lowestoft -based engineering company Sembmarine SLP.
He said: “With more than 350 employees, Sembmarine SLP is one of Lowestoft’s major employers and my colleagues and I are very pleased that we are going to have the opportunity to discuss priorities for the town and its economy with local leaders.
“Job creation and skills development, the quayside infrastructure, sea defences and road improvements are among the key issues that we will wish to raise at this event.”
A council spokesman said it was “really pleased” 200 people had registered for the presentation but stressed the stalls and stands in Market Street would also provide information on a range of issues.
Mr Law said: “The scale of this event is unprecedented. We want people to really get to grips with what’s going on in the town and my overriding hope is that everyone leaves the event feeling better informed, but also content that their questions have been answered and that any concerns have been addressed.”
■Postbox – page 20.