A major regeneration programme to transform a coastal town will go ahead after the final green light from the government.

In 2019, Lowestoft was chosen as one of 100 towns to benefit from a share of the government's £3.6 billion Towns Fund.

The following year, a Town Investment Plan set out Lowestoft's ambitions, opportunities and challenges over the next 10 years, which was submitted to the government as part of the application and focused on five regeneration projects.

Lowestoft's bid for £24.9 million was provisionally secured in March 2021, subject to the completion of a detailed business case for each of the five projects it would include.

These were completed in March 2022, and all five projects have now received final approval from the government.

Craig Rivett, East Suffolk Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development, said: “Securing £24.9 million through the government’s Town Fund was great news and since then there has been a huge amount of work ‘behind the scenes’ to prepare a detailed business case for each of the five major regeneration projects.

"Receiving government approval for all of the business cases is incredible news and means we can now move forward at pace with our ambitious plans to enhance the town, driving economic growth and attracting future investment."

The Lowestoft Town Investment Plan was developed in partnership with the Lowestoft Place Board, which comprises representatives from public, private and voluntary organisations and is overseen by East Suffolk Council.

Stephen Javes, chairman of the Lowestoft Place Board, said: “Over the past two years, we have been working with officers at East Suffolk Council to secure the Towns Deal.

"Firstly, through the development of the Town Investment Plan and then by endorsing the business case for each project.

"We will continue to monitor and evaluate the delivery process and are excited to see the opportunities this brings to the town as well as looking to add value that improves the town beyond the deal.”

All five projects have now advanced to the design phase and, in the coming months, residents, businesses and visitors will be able to view proposed designs and learn more about each project.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: “It is great news that these five major regeneration projects have secured final government approval and construction work can now get under way.

"It’s necessary to thank all those who have worked so hard in preparing the business cases for each project as they have left no stone unturned to get to this stage.

“Lowestoft faces both tremendous challenges and opportunities in the coming years, and projects like these will help us to address the former and to take advantage of the latter.

"I shall continue working with local councils, the government and businesses to ensure that the necessary policies and support are in place, so that the town realises its full potential for the benefit of the whole community."

All projects are due to be completed by March 2026.

Lowestoft mayor and town councillor Alan Green said: “Lowestoft Town Council is delighted to be working with East Suffolk Council on this funding designed to benefit Lowestoft people, business and visitors.

"The inclusion of our assets, including the Marina Theatre and Town Hall - the latter with generous contributions also from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England and Architectural Heritage Fund - should make a significant contribution to transformation work underway."

The five projects focus on the Station Quarter, the Cultural Quarter, the Historic Quarter, the Seafront Vision and the Port Gateway.

Andrew Harston, ABP director for Wales and Short Sea Ports, said: “We are delighted that Lowestoft’s ambitious Towns Deal, which includes ABP’s Lowestoft Eastern Energy Facility, has gained final government approval.

“The LEEF project, which recently won ‘Best Project’ in the regional Royal Town Planning Institute Awards for Planning Excellence 2022, has the potential to attract many supply chain companies to Lowestoft and create an offshore renewable energy cluster, bringing new jobs and prosperity to the area."

What are the five projects?

Station Quarter

The Station Quarter project will see both the former Post Officer and the front of the railway station, which has been vacant for more than 50 years, building fully restored and brought back into working use.

Cultural Quarter

Improvements to the Marina Theatre will feature in work in the Cultural Quarter, as well as the redevelopment of the council's current Customer Services Centre to provide a new cultural facility with associated eatery.

The former Battery multi-storey car park will also be demolished to create a "new, vibrant building to support the performing arts" in its place, as well as commercial and leisure facilities.

Historic Quarter

Work in the Historic Quarter will focus on the redevelopment and refurbishment of the Town Hall, which has been vacant since 2015, along with enhancing the historic Scores in a "conservation-led" approach.

Seafront Vision

The Seafront Vision will see the redevelopment of Royal Plain, including the Royal Plain fountains, Royal Green, and associated public realm to complement the recently refurbished East Point Pavilion.

Port Gateway

The final project will support the development of the Lowestoft Eastern Energy Facility (LEEF) to secure the town's future as an Operations and Maintenance hub for the offshore renewables sector.