Redevelopment of a prominent town centre building that has been empty for almost three years has moved a step closer to reality.

A scheme to transform the vacant former Tesco Metro store in Lowestoft town centre with 23 homes and a new retail unit came under scrutiny this week.

The store's closure left a hole in London Road North's retail offer when it closed in September, 2019.

On Tuesday, Lowestoft Town Council's planning committee approved a scheme to redevelop 119-125 London Road North - the former home of Tesco Metro which closed in September 2019.

The plans, centring around the 119 -125 London Road North site, mention commercial floorspace on the ground floor, and residential units above.

Some demolition work would have to take place to accommodate the residential part of the development

A scheme submitted by agents JMS Planning & Development Ltd on behalf of the applicants Lowestoft Developments Limited was lodged with East Suffolk Council in December last year to transform the vacant site into 23 new apartments - a mix of studio, one and two bedroom units - as well as a communal terrace and retail unit.

A planning statement submitted to the council by JMS Planning & Development Ltd concluded: "It is considered that the submitted application is of significant merit, namely it will contribute additional homes in Lowestoft which is targeted for growth in the Local Plan; It will enable a prominent vacant building within the town centre to be re-used and it will contribute to maintaining the vitality and viability of the town centre."

After the popular Tesco Metro store had closed in Lowestoft town centre on September 28, 2019 following decades of serving the community, the building has remained vacant ever since.

With town councillors discussing the plans this week, they put forward a recommendation to East Suffolk Council who, as planning authority, will have the final say at a later date - as the scheme is currently "awaiting decision" with East Suffolk.

A town council spokesman said: "The planning committee of Lowestoft Town Council considered this application at a meeting on July 5.

"It was agreed to recommend approval of the application."