Five-year heritage zone to revive neglected area in heart of Lowestoft

The Heritage Action Zone team on Lowestoft'�s historic High Street - left to right: Danny Steel, cha

The Heritage Action Zone team on Lowestoft'�s historic High Street - left to right: Danny Steel, chairman of Lowestoft Vision; councillor Michael Ladd, Waveney District Council; Paul Wood, Waveney DC; Alice Taylor, Lowestoft Town Council; Simon Buteux, English Heritage; Elizabeth Martin, Waveney DC; Samantha Jones, Waveney DC; Karen Staples, Waveney DC; Paul Bradley, chairman of East Suffolk Building Preservation Trust; and Peter Knight, Lowestoft Town Council. Picture: WAVENEY DISTRICT COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s second biggest town has received a huge boost after being chosen for a flagship project to kick-start regeneration of one of its oldest areas to improve its economy and the quality of life.

Minister for arts, heritage and tourism, John Glen announced that North Lowestoft’s historic heart was to become one of eight new Heritage Action Zones across the country.

The five-year project to be run by Waveney District Council and Historic England and partners will revive the conservation area, bringing back into use neglected and “at risk” buildings as housing or retail spaces.

The aim of the zones is to unleash the power in the historic environment to create economic growth and improve quality of life in villages, towns and cities.

Mr Glen said: “Our heritage not only tells the story of our past, it creates great places to live, work and visit. The Heritage Action Zone scheme will make the most out of Lowestoft’s historic environment to kick-start regeneration, increase tourism and boost investment.”

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John Neale, planning director for Historic England in the East, said: “Lowestoft has so much to be proud of, from its historic Scores to the South Beach. Some of its historic buildings are showing signs of neglect, but with a little investment and imagination they can become assets for the people of Lowestoft to enjoy and for the town’s economy.

“We are looking forward to working with Waveney District Council and their partners to raise awareness of what Lowestoft has to offer and to make it easy for investors and developers to bring jobs, homes and visitors here.”

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The North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone includes some of the oldest parts of the town including the main medieval settlement, grown around the fishing industry, with merchants’ housing and commercial premises lining the High Street on the clifftop, while the buildings associated with fishing, such as net stores and workers cottages, were on the lower ground area by the sea.

The area is home to many fine historic buildings, the oldest dating back to the 15th century, as well as the late 19th century park and garden, Belle Vue Park.

Waveney council Heritage Champion Michael Ladd said: “We can’t wait to get started on the project and to ensure that the town’s character and heritage will truly benefit the area, and current and future generations.”

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