Vacant offices could be transformed to ‘inject new life’ into area

Empty offices near a town centre could be set for a new lease of life.

Plans have been lodged to transform the site of large former offices near Lowestoft town centre into four new retail units – with a fish and chip shop and convenience store potentially unveiled.

A change of use scheme has been submitted to East Suffolk Council to convert a single storey, purpose built office building on Milton Road East – which was the former Shaw Trust offices that closed at the end of last year – into four retail shops.

The scheme, which is currently awaiting decision, centres around “change of use from offices (E) at 15 Milton Road East to fish and chip shop. A5 and sub-division to form three additional retail shops including convenience store (E).”

With the plans currently “awaiting decision”, a design and access statement submitted to the council by agent Stephen Barrett on behalf of the applicant Piratherepan Rajakoon, states: “The existing building was previously used as office accommodation, which ceased its use at the end of 2019 and is now a vacant building.

“Change of use plans from offices (Class E) to a fish and chip take-away (A5) and to form three additional shop units, comprising a licenced convenience store with two other units, possibly for greengrocery and a delicatessen.

“The development will comprise new shop fronts, with level access entrance doorways.”

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With the site measuring 2,368 sq ft, it adds: “With the demise of local shops in the immediate vicinity, there is a need to introduce new small business outlets, trying to inject some enthusiasm for other vacant units to follow suit.

“This proposed development will also provide labour for around 16 people.

“Car parking will be available for 11 vehicles, including one space for disabled drivers/passengers.

“The existing building is looking very tired and will be smartened up, with rendering, re-decoration and signage.”

It concludes: “The proposed redevelopment of this site will inject new life into the area, together with providing job opportunities.

“There is a need for a convenience store in this part of the town and will give an ideal opportunity for a greengrocer, delicatessen, or similar, to open a complimentary business.”