New homes bid for former offices near town centre set for approval

The former Shaw Trust offices in Milton Road East, Lowestoft.

The former Shaw Trust offices in Milton Road East, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Former offices that have been empty for more than two years look set to be demolished and replaced with new homes.

The vacant former Shaw Trust offices, close to Lowestoft town centre, closed at the end of 2019 and have been empty ever since.

The former Shaw Trust offices in Lowestoft.

The former Shaw Trust offices in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Now, a new lease of life could be in store as plans look set to be given the green light for a scheme that could see six new homes built to be available for affordable rent.

Plans centring around the "Development of six, two-bed dwellings after demolition of existing building" at 15-18 Milton Road East in Lowestoft were lodged last November.

A scheme submitted by agents Rees Pryer Architects on behalf of the applicant East Suffolk Council will be voted on at a meeting of the council’s Planning Committee North next Tuesday, March 8.

Councillors will be told planning officers recommend approval of the proposed development, subject to conditions.

The former Shaw Trust offices in Lowestoft.

The former Shaw Trust offices in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

A planning report to councillors states: "Planning permission is sought for the demolition of the existing single storey office building, which has been vacant since 2019, and the construction of six, two-bedroom properties with associated parking and outdoor amenity space.

"The properties will form part of the council's housing portfolio and will be available for affordable rent.

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"This building has very little architectural merit and it is considered that demolition and redevelopment will improve this aspect of Milton Road East."

With one objection raised citing "loss of privacy due to proximity of properties", the planning report adds: "The proposed development is of an appropriate design, scale and density which will make the best use of the site in a manner that protects and enhances the distinctiveness and character of the area.

"The impact of the proposal on the amenity of occupiers of properties to the rear is
considered to be acceptable."

In September 2020 plans were lodged to convert the former offices into four new retail sites.

But with that scheme subsequently withdrawn in August 2021, this application was lodged last year with the design and access statement citing the earmarked site "is an excellent opportunity to deliver six much needed two bedroom homes."

With the application recommended for approval with conditions, it concludes: "The proposal will provide an important contribution to the council's housing stock."