Planning priorities for town to be decided over coming years
- Credit: Archant
Work to decide how Lowestoft should look and develop in the future is under way at the town council.
The Lowestoft Neighbourhood Plan will set out what the people of the town want to see happen as Lowestoft continues to develop.
It will sit alongside the Waveney Local Plan which closed for consultations on May 24 and is being submitted to the Government for independent examination into its soundness.
The neighbourhood plan will allow the people of Lowestoft to decide where they think new houses, businesses and shops should go, and what they should look like.
Lowestoft Town Council said the plan could take up to two years to develop with any proposed neighbourhood plan needing the support of 51pc of voters in a local referendum, and they highlighted the need for the plan to be people-driven.
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Surveys, opinion polls and events with parishes and local groups will be held over the coming months to begin to establish the contents of the plan.
It is understood one of the main priorities from councillors is to make the most of the seafront area.
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The process to establish the neighbourhood plan is already under way with a consultation on the neighbourhood area designation - the boundaries of where the plan affects - open until July 22.
The detail within any neighbourhood plan must consider the National Planning Policy Framework - which sets out England-wide planning priorities - and must be generally aligned to the strategic policies of a local plan, such as the Waveney Local Plan.
Examples of where the neighbourhood plan could make crucial differences in development plans include Peto Square, Kirkley Waterfront and the potential new garden village north of Lowestoft where 1,300 new homes could be built.
Lowestoft Town Council have also secured £6,000 of funding, the first external funding brought in to the town by the council, in the form of a locality grant from the department for housing, communities and local government.
Further grants, in the form of technical support grants could also be applied for in the future.
The neighbourhood plan is being developed with the help of Liverpool-based consultancy firm Urban Vision, who have helped regenerate other coastal towns and cities including Portsmouth.
Councillor appeals for resident's involvement
Lowestoft Town Councillor Alice Taylor encouraged people to get involved with the creation of the neighbourhood plan when consultations open later this year.
She said: 'The thing with this neighbourhood plan is that it is a pretty powerful document which will focus where Lowestoft wants to go in the next five, 10, 20 years.
'It is a road map, and it has very specific legal ramifications about what things look like with designs for conservation.
'It gets to be very tactical, exactly what we are going to do and exactly where we are going to do it.'
She added: 'We want people to be as active in it as possible. It is not just for history, it is the social aspect like arts and how local businesses operate in town.
'We are starting to direct what areas we need to encourage retail and where we don't, alongside managing retail as we go into an internet environment.'