New shops could be unveiled at prominent former family-run business
- Credit: Mick Howes
New shops and two new flats could be unveiled at a prominent building in south Lowestoft that has been empty for more than two years.
Having been synonymous with a town for more than a century Cooks Furnishers, of Lowestoft, closed in July 2019 as brothers Peter Cook and Michael Cook hung up their tape measures for a well-earned retirement.
The closure brought to an end of a popular independent family-run business that had traded in Lowestoft for 107 years.
Having been at the forefront of furniture retailing, the prestigious company was in the family for four generations.
After moving to the London Road South premises in 1997 they took over the empty Easterns Furniture Shop - formerly Lillian's.
Now, having been vacant ever since, a scheme has been lodged for a "shop refurbishment" of the vacant building with "two additional first floor flats".
Plans submitted to East Suffolk Council centre around "Shop refurbishment and the forming of two additional first floor flats" at 198-206 London Road South, Lowestoft with the application currently awaiting decision.
A design and access statement submitted by agents Julian D Hood Ltd, on behalf of the applicant Global Asset International Ltd, said the development would see the large store divided "into separate units" - with one unit potentially earmarked to be a restaurant.
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With the site area measuring 634.00 sq m the premises at 198–206 London Road South is "formed from five original high street shops."
It states: "The Cooks Department Store building has new owners.
"The new owners are enthusiastic to turn the single large shops to separate units to bring more variety to the street scene.
"It is the intention that the shopfronts will be restored as part of separating the single large shop into individual small separate shops.
"The new owners are also a family business, who intended to refurbish and return the street scene to it’s original look."
With several flats above the existing shop, it adds: "there is an anomaly above shop No.200 which simply has a pitched slate roof set back behind the shopfront.
"It does, however, seem fitting to re-establish a first floor to the shop and complete the street scene.
"It is therefore proposed to rebuild between the present flats providing accommodation for either the shop owner or an individual."