Lowestoft should ‘look forward to 2016 as being a year full of promise’

Official opening of the new Riverside building for Waveney and Suffolk council.Phil Aves.

Official opening of the new Riverside building for Waveney and Suffolk council.Phil Aves. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The EDP and Lowestoft Journal have asked people from across the town what their hopes and aspirations are for 2016. After a year of change in Lowestoft, PHIL AVES - from Lowestoft Rising, an organisation working to improve the town - looks at whether the town is on the up for 2016.

Beat the Street pier walk

Beat the Street pier walk - Credit: Archant

Is Lowestoft rising?

That was the question posed by both The Journal and Lowestoft Rising in 2015 and without doubt there was a much more positive response from the public this year.

Yes some said we still had a way to go, but others chose to see some of the positive news that was already in the public domain was a sign that Lowestoft was turning a corner.

Stars of Lowestoft & Waveney Awards 2015- Overall Winners

Stars of Lowestoft & Waveney Awards 2015- Overall Winners - Credit: Archant

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With news that East Anglia ONE had chosen Lowestoft as it operating base – with investment of £25million in port facilities and new jobs – and news that the flood defences would be strengthen by 2020 with a £25million investment, it could be argued that the tide was turning, or even we were trying to turn the tide back (to pardon the pun) in Lowestoft. The sea wall and children's corner beach ravaged by the last storm tides will be restored and ready for 2016 season.

The schools in Lowestoft have taken a stormy battering too over recent years – but for those of us working closely in partnership with all our schools, we are seeing real change and real positivity across all colleges and schools.

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The Schoolzone section in The Journal is now full of good news stories about the activities and learning going in our schools. Lowestoft Rising believes we have started to turn the corner here too and the launch of the Lowestoft Engineering Project led by the Royal Academy of Engineers and the Ogden Trust is just one example of Lowestoft getting its fair share of help and support at last.

The project hopes to inspire students to be the next generation of engineers – and who knows they could be helping to design and build our third crossing in years to come.

Pride is important to Lowestoft and we saw the recent Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney awards to recognise some of the local people who have gone the extra mile – likewise the Lowestoft and Waveney Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, showcasing some of our excellent business talent we have in the town. We can all do more to take pride in our town and support the events that the townspeople put on.

The Lions and The Rotary Clubs came together to give Lowestoft a Summer Festival to be proud of, with plans to do it bigger and better next year, making use of our beach and sea front that we should all be proud to shout about. Blue Flag golden sand beaches and excellent water quality would be the envy of many a coastal community.

Beat the Street was the walking initiative that took the town by storm and showed that Lowestoft could walk, run, jog or cycle 161,000 miles in a month and lap the world six times.

Some 12,500 people taking part in a schools led initiative that showed we do have pride in ourselves and our town.

Public sector integration took another step forward in 2015 with the opening of the new Riverside building housing both Suffolk County and Waveney District Council staff, who can now work closer together under one roof. The Marina Centre is almost ready to deliver joined up front of house public services in the town. Kirkley Mill has replaced our worn out hospital with modern integrated facilities.

So is Lowestoft Rising?,

We would say yes and 2016 looks set to be a good year for Lowestoft, with further good news on investment both retail and commercial to come. A final decision on whether we will secure the funding for the third crossing as promised and unemployment numbers looking to drop further as jobs come on line. A new youth job facility based on the successful Ipswich MyGo model is planned for 2016 to help those most in need to find work.

So as another year draws to an end we should be thankful for our town and its wonderful community spirit and we should all look forward to 2016 as being a year full of promise.

Happy New Year!

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