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What do you think of bold waterside vision for south Lowestoft?

PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 January 2014 | UPDATED: 15:00 10 January 2014

BEFORE: The Jeld Wen site close to Riverside Road, Kirkley Waterfront   Picture: James Bass

BEFORE: The Jeld Wen site close to Riverside Road, Kirkley Waterfront Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

It has been hailed as Waveney District Council's biggest regeneration project over the next 10 to 15 years.

Plans to transform swathes of waterfront land in Lowestoft with hundreds of new homes are at the heart of multi-million pound developments for the Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood (SUN) and Kirkley Waterfront.

But, as MARK BOGGIS reports, the potential first phase of regeneration of the south-side of Lake Lothing have also prompted concerns....

This is how things might look in south Lowestoft in years to come – if ambitious plans are realised.

Up to 850 homes, a new school, “unique” homes on stilts, waterfront villas, cafès, a wildlife visitor centre, marina, retail developments and a new public park are all included in the plans for the south side of Lake Lothing.

And, as these images show, the long-term vision is to transform more than 45 acres (18.3 hectares) into a “vibrant, sustainable community” that would aim to build on “the area’s unique maritime setting”.

An application from Kent-based Cardy Construction Ltd has been submitted to Waveney District Council, to develop the land off Waveney Drive, which includes the old Brooke Marine and Jeld Wen industrial sites.

According to the application, the plans would involve “demolition of the existing industrial units” and regeneration of the land for housing and leisure, with a new spine road access and open space.

A design and access statement, lodged on the developers’ behalf by London-based firm Assael Architecture, says: “The vision for the site is to create a masterplan for a mixed-use residential development with a marina, a new school, and a new local centre that maximizes the potential of the site.

“We aim to create a vibrant, sustainable community which builds on the area’s unique maritime setting.”

According to the application, 
the 850 homes would consist of a mixture of two, three, four, five 
and six-storey properties in 21 plots, with 259 apartments, 23 “fogs” (apartments with balconies) and 568 houses.

Assael Architecture carried out a three-day public consultation on the proposals in Lowestoft last August but, since submitting its detailed application, a number of objections have been lodged.

The Excelsior Trust charity opposes the plans, saying it is “likely to be driven from the area” by the development. John Wylson, vice-president of the trust which owns land to the north of the old Brooke Marine site, voiced a number of concerns.

He said: “Excelsior is a valuable local heritage asset that lies very near the development and is likely to be driven from the area by the development.”

A senior conservation officer at the RSPB highlighted concerns about possible flooding, stating: “The RSPB also has reports that during the storm surge on December 5/6 large parts of the site were flooded.

“The RSPB recommends this be discussed with the Environment Agency to ensure this site continues to be suitable for residential development in line with the technical guidance to the national planning policy framework.”

However, the developers insist that they have sought to address flooding issues. One of 12 objectives in the original SUN briefing documents, headed “flood risk”, states: “People and property in the SUN will be protected from flooding. This may be achieved through new flood 
defences or measures to mitigate flooding such as building design and land raising.”

Yesterday, a spokesman for the developers said: “We have had a close working relationship with the Environment Agency as well as county highways as part of the application process and have addressed all of their concerns, particularly those associated with the potential for flooding and the traffic impact on the wider area. All of these have been responded to as part of the application and we were particularly reassured by the lack of flooding during the recent exceptional weather.

“Indeed the brownfield nature of the site means that it is predominantly impermeable surfacing at present and the development proposals will bring forward sustainable drainage techniques and incorporate land-raising.”

Since detailed plans were posted online, the application, which is currently waiting for consideration, has also prompted concerns from a number of local organisations and people living at Sunnyfields, Heath Road, School Road and Waveney Drive – with one resident suggesting the plan 
“is totally unethical” and another saying 
the development “is beyond moral 
decency”.

Responding via the council’s website, one resident in Waveney Drive said that, if it won planning approval, the scheme would “have a negative affect on Lowestoft”, adding: “Is it a good idea to build more properties so close to the water? We have just witnessed how devastating floods can be”.

What do you think? Write to Postbox, The Editor, Lowestoft Journal, 147, London Road North, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 1NB or e-mail max.bennett@archant.co.uk Remember, letters will not be published without the name and address of the writer.

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