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Partners unite to create blueprint for Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 08:39 15 March 2013 | UPDATED: 08:39 15 March 2013

Lowestoft harbour and bascule bridge
Photo: Mike Page

Lowestoft harbour and bascule bridge Photo: Mike Page

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Public and private sector partners have today launched a comprehensive document, to help deliver transport and infrastructure improvements in Lowestoft as part of plans to position the town as an economic force in the region.

Addressing existing and potential issues within the town, the ‘Lowestoft Prospectus’ provides the template to deliver a range of improvements and facilitate economic growth in the town, with particular focus on tourism and inward investment from offshore developments.

Supported by business leaders in both the district and the county as a whole, its primary focus is on road, rail and port infrastructure improvements, as well as long term flood mitigation to stimulate development and create jobs in areas designated for growth. This includes the Lowestoft Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour Area Action Plan (AAP), an Enterprise Zone (EZ) and the Centre for Offshore Renewable Engineering (CORE).

A steering group led by Waveney MP Peter Aldous together with representatives from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP), Suffolk County Council (SCC), Waveney District Council (WDC), Environment Agency (EA), the Suffolk Chamber and the Lowestoft and Waveney Chamber has been formed to oversee development of proposals within the prospectus.

The prospectus contains a number of key objectives and proposals. Specific development of these proposals has been assigned to a Lowestoft Transport and Infrastructure Major Project team formed from representatives of the partner organisations with support from key stakeholders including Associated British Ports (ABP), Highways Agency (HA), Network Rail (NR), Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Anglian Water (AW).

The document itself, edited and produced by the major projects team at Waveney District Council is now online via www.waveney.gov.uk/prospectus and available for readers to inspect and help them share in the multi-partner vision for Britain’s most easterly town.

It also follows the launch, two weeks ago, of the Suffolk Growth Strategy – a plan for Suffolk designed to deliver economic growth, create more jobs and increase prosperity. The strategy, developed by the county council in partnership with the districts and boroughs, defines the public sector’s ambitions and how local councils, by working together, intend to achieve these goals and enable the growth of the private sector across Suffolk as a whole. The Lowestoft Prospectus is very much an integral part of this countywide approach.

In his foreword, written for the prospectus, Mr Aldous said: “This document provides the blueprint for the change that we need; the framework within which a variety of proposals can take place over the next 10-15 years that will help bring jobs and business to Lowestoft, enable the port to realise its full potential, will improve access to environments surrounding the town centre and the beach area and will alleviate and unlock the pinch points in the local road system. A comprehensive, strategic approach is necessary with central and local government, strategic partners and businesses all working together”

Andy Wood, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Lowestoft is fantastically placed to take advantage of the economic opportunities presented by developments in the energy sector and related industries over the next few years. The development of the Enterprise Zone in the town will help bring new jobs and businesses. However it is critically important to ensure the town and surrounding area has the right infrastructure to support this growth, which is why we are supportive of the Lowestoft Transport and Infrastructure Prospectus.”

Mark Bee, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “Suffolk County Council is a supporter of the Lowestoft Prospectus and we have been working with colleagues of Waveney District Council on the concepts contained within it. As Suffolk’s second largest town we are keen to see Lowestoft recover its economic prosperity. With the major new opportunities emerging for offshore energy development the town is well placed to benefit in terms of jobs and businesses growth. Having modern and adequate transport and infrastructure in place is key to maximising on inward investment opportunities. We look forward to working with all the partners involved in the prospectus to this end as new funding opportunities arise.”

Colin Law, leader of Waveney District Council, said: “This document is one of the most important we have developed and shows commitment by SCC and WDC along with stakeholders and partners to work together to improve the Lowestoft infrastructure. The options to be appraised provide us with a real opportunity to explore that which is best for Lowestoft and Waveney.”

Dr Charles Beardall, Environment Agency Anglian Eastern Area Manger, said: “We are pleased to be working with Waveney District Council and their partners as they seek to deliver the infrastructure Lowestoft needs. Flood risk in Lowestoft needs to be considered carefully and it is good to see its inclusion in this prospectus.”

James Reeder, chairman of Lowestoft & Waveney Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Lowestoft Chamber of Commerce and firms across Suffolk will back this important prospectus and what it could mean for the town of Lowestoft. Both the current business environment and the economic future of the town need attention and investment in transport and infrastructure is imperative. Lowestoft, as the home of the New Anglia LEP Enterprise Zone and as a pillar of the Energy Coast can and must play a leading role in coming years. The prospectus is an important and influential document that if implemented can and will make a real and lasting impact.”

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber, said: “The development of infrastructure is a key part of driving forward economic growth across the whole of Suffolk. That development must be driven by firms big and small who are on the ground and therefore operating in the towns in our county which are key to the growth in the year ahead. It remains a challenging economic time and therefore this piece of work will be highly influential to future development.”

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