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Vision of growth in Waveney towns

PUBLISHED: 13:44 01 February 2008 | UPDATED: 19:36 05 July 2010

WELCOMED: Waveney councillor Wendy Mawer at the launch of the Waveney Prospectus.

WELCOMED: Waveney councillor Wendy Mawer at the launch of the Waveney Prospectus.

AN exciting programme to encourage growth in Waveney has been warmly supported although there are still major concerns over proposals to move Lowestoft railway station.

AN exciting programme to encourage growth in Waveney has been warmly supported although there are still major concerns over proposals to move Lowestoft railway station.

The Waveney Prospectus has been drawn up by Waveney District Council, Waveney Economic Partnership, the East of England Development Agency and the Waveney Community Forum.

It was launched at the Cut arts centre, in Halesworth, on Thursday last week in order to make the point that it was a plan for the four market towns of Halesworth, Southwold, Beccles and Bungay, just as much as Lowestoft.

In fact the 1st East regeneration area around Lake Lothing is not covered by the plan.

On transport, the plan calls for a third crossing of Lake Lothing - already put forward by 1st East - a relocated Lowestoft station and a £5m passing loop on the rail line at Beccles to allow hourly trains. It also calls for incentives to cycle such as workplace showers and a local code of conduct for drivers to protect cyclists.

While there is widespread support for an improved East Suffolk railway line and a third crossing over Lake Lothing there are calls to keep Lowestoft railway station in its present position and not move it 400 metres away from the town centre.

Rod Lock, secretary of the East Suffolk Travellers' Association, said: “Passengers will have to walk 400m further than they do at the moment. There would be uproar if the multi-storey car park in the centre of Lowestoft was taken down and people were told they had to park 400m further down the road.”

Mr Lock said he doubted that the proposal would be legal because a proposal to move a station must be put forward by the Department of Transport, the train operating company or Network Rail and not a developer or urban regeneration company.

Another of the plans in the prospectus is a “Waveney Dragon's Den”, in which entrepreneurs would pitch ideas to a panel of five senior businessmen and venture capitalists, or “dragons”.

The plan says: “Each panel member could put up to £15,000 from their individual firms, giving a total investment fund of £75,000 to invest in two business ideas with high growth potential.”

Other investment ideas in the plan include managed business units for small businesses in market towns and villages; promotion of farming, especially organic or local food and drink and non-food crops such as biofuels; and a calendar of events for Waveneymarket towns to promote them and avoid clashes between events in neighbouring towns.

Graduates will be encouraged to stay in Waveney through work placements before and after they have graduated.

Last night, Waveney councillors Graham Elliott and Ruth Ford put forward a motion during the full council meeting at Lowestoft Town Hall calling on the council to recognise the important of the railway and to keep Lowestoft station where it is.

Mr Elliott said: “I am looking for a strong commitment from Waveney to the importance of the location of the station. It is the best located station in Suffolk and possibly East Anglia. It is ideal for the beach and for the town centre.”

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