Lake Lothing vision could be a 'reawakening' for Lowestoft
A vision to transform an iconic part of Lowestoft into a vibrant "lakeside neighbourhood" could provide a "reawakening" effect for the town similar to what London experienced with its Docklands, a leading councillor has said.
Although the Suffolk coastal town may not be expecting its own skyscrapers to rival Canary Wharf, planners at Waveney District Council (WDC) have suggested creating distinctive landmark buildings in the western end of Lake Lothing.
A draft concept statement divides the area into sections for housing, employment, leisure and tourism.
Similar to the picturesque Southwold Harbour, it suggests having timber cladding for upper floors of buildings to be “in keeping with surrounding buildings and the maritime character of the area”.
Yet although a consultation launched last week into the future of the area has been welcomed by many, concerns have been raised about whether whatever is decided would become a reality.
Although the vision sets guidelines designed to give developers a guide as to the type of buildings that can expect future planning permission, the council would be reliant on developers to put forward specific plans.
Simon Tobin, chairman of the Waveney branch of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), said: “Although we appreciate and embrace the consultation on future development, we have to look at things which are absolutely critical now rather than long-term.
“We would like to see some smaller, easily-run projects on the ground that will have an immediate effect.”
And businessman Peter Colby said: “I welcome anything that is sensible that will bring in employment and is financially viable.
“However the problem with Lowestoft is that it has soundbites, a report is commissioned and then nothing happens.”
However David Ritchie - deputy leader of WDC and cabinet member for planning and coastal management – said that although timescales would be subject to planning applications, he would expect to see development in the next five years.
One part of the area already has outline planning permission, while another application has been submitted to build homes and workplace unit at Oswald’s Boatyard.
He said: “A lot of people who live here have little idea of what a wonderful area is right next to them.
“Once development starts to take place, it will be an awakening and realisation of what Lowestoft has got.
“Like London’s Docklands and Bristol Harbour, they are all areas people didn’t really visit. They are all fantastic now.
“Lowestoft has great potential.”
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