One in five town centre units empty, report reveals
- Credit: Mick Howes
More than one in five town centre buildings are vacant in Lowestoft, as progress on a council's local plan is revealed.
Since adopting the Waveney Local Plan in March 2019, East Suffolk Council has been working towards protecting town centres and improving "quality of life for everyone growing up in, living in, working in and visiting" the area.
The plan could see more than 9,000 new homes and 5,000 new jobs created by 2036, as well as development of a multiplex cinema in Lowestoft, new restaurants and increased hotel provision in Lowestoft and Beccles.
Now, the council's Authority Monitoring Report for 2019/20 has been released to show progress on the delivery of the Waveney and Suffolk Coastal local plans, with the latter being adopted in September 2020.
The report has found 12pc of units in East Suffolk town centres were vacant, rising to 21pc in Lowestoft, although highlights the council's Town Centre Masterplan which it states "will help to improve the town centre environment and attract more businesses and visitors in the future."
The report also states 819 new homes have been built around the district, 27pc of which were affordable housing, although Waveney's 159 new homes is a "significant" drop from the 297 built the previous year.
The figure includes 40 new builds in Lowestoft and 18 each in Oulton Broad and Blundeston.
You may also want to watch:
Similarly, only 28 affordable homes were built in Waveney, with 16 coming in Blundeston, while Bungay saw the loss of three affordable homes.
Councillor David Ritchie, cabinet member for planning and coastal management, said: "This annual report is the main mechanism for assessing the delivery of the local plans and performs an important role by highlighting performance in key areas, such as housing delivery and employment land take-up.
- 1 Man dies following collision on A12
- 2 Mouldy scone leads to bakery firm being fined £9k for hygiene breaches
- 3 'Cook changes it for Ipswich... I never thought it would happen for them before' - Gillingham boss Evans
- 4 New collision beams 'catching drivers out' at Suffolk's 'most bashed' bridge
- 5 Cook's first press conference: New Town boss on aims, style, takeover rumours and his squad
- 6 'Landmark' refusal of 18 homes in Suffolk village aided by community
- 7 'I have a clear style of play... that will be evident from day one' - Cook on Town's identity
- 8 'I turned down jobs... Ipswich ticks every single box' - Cook on why he took the Ipswich role
- 9 Horse found abandoned in field so over-bred rescuers thought she was a cow
- 10 A12 re-opens following serious three-vehicle crash
"A mass of useful supporting and background information on environmental, economic and social matters in East Suffolk is also available through easy-to-search pages on our Open Data Portal, and I would encourage people to find out more about what happened in their local area or parish in 2019/20."
The report also states £5.1 million of Community Infrastructure Levy was collected from developers to help pay for new and improved infrastructure and support delivery of the local plans.