Heritage project to breathe new life into town’s historic high street
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A £1m scheme to revive a historic high street has begun as plans were revealed for the north Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone.
The five-year scheme, led by Waveney District Council and Historic England, will focus on regenerating buildings in the town's High Street alongside research and community engagement.
The majority of the funding - £500,000 - is being provided by Historic England, with Waveney District Council and private firms also investing in the scheme.
As well as the medieval High Street, the Heritage Action Zone includes the Scores, historic smokehouses and net stores, and Lowestoft's Victorian parks.
Grant funding will be available to landlords for housing repairs and renovation, research into the history of the area, support for buildings 'at risk' and a community programme including public lectures.
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Planning director for Historic England in the East of England, John Neale, said: 'The High Street is the heart of historic Lowestoft, and the Heritage Action Zone aims to revive the street, repairing its historic character and improving it for the benefit of everyone who lives and works here, and for those who visit the town.'
Cabinet member for tourism and economic development at Waveney District Council, Michael Ladd, said: 'We're looking forward to involving local groups to really make the most of this scheme and to ensure that it benefits people in the local area.
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'We want to help make Lowestoft an even better place for residents, businesses and visitors alike.'
Lowestoft town councillor, Alice Taylor, added: 'Lowestoft Town Council is extremely pleased to be a working partner in the Heritage Action Zone and to help jump-start Lowestoft's heritage regeneration.
'The Heritage Action Zone is a brilliant vehicle that will bring practical knowledge and investment to our historic buildings and parks, and I am personally thrilled with the opportunities I see for Lowestoft.'
North Lowestoft was originally the main medieval settlement which grew around a thriving fishing industry with merchants' housing and commercial buildings on the cliff top and workers' cottages and net stores below.
However, due to the decline in the industry and regular flooding of the Beach Village, the economic heart of Lowestoft moved further south.
The five-year Heritage Action Zone scheme will see the historic North Lowestoft High Street revived for residents, local business owners and visitors.
The scheme, worth £1 million, will see Historic England provide grant aid and expertise to make the most of Lowestoft's historic mercantile and fishing quarter.
Partners and landlords involved in the Heritage Action Zone gathered at Riverside in Lowestoft this morning to hear further information about the grant funding for which they can now apply.
John Neale, planning director for Historic England in the East of England, said: 'Historic England is delighted to be working with our Heritage Action Zone partners to help revive North Lowestoft High Street. We look forward to working with our partners to realise this ambition over the coming years.'
Simon Buteux, Heritage at Risk Principal at Historic England launched the Heritage Action Zone before Waveney District Council officers outlined what grants are available through the HAZ.