Lowestoft waterfront regeneration boost

A multi-million pound project to build a new council and science headquarters in Lowestoft was given the go-ahead last night.

A multi-million pound project to build a new council and science headquarters in Lowestoft was given the go-ahead last night.

Members of Waveney District Council's development control committee voted unanimously in favour of the �52.7m Waveney Campus, which will now be built by the banks of Lake Lothing, off Riverside Road.

The project has been held up as a key plank of the regeneration of waterfront sites in Lowestoft and will also ensure the prestigious Cefas marine science laboratory stays in the town by being allowed to move nearly 400 staff into the new building.

Cefas, Waveney District Council and Suffolk County Council will house a total of about 1,000 employees at the Campus, while the government's new Marine Management Organisation could also be based there if Lowestoft is chosen as its headquarters.

Following last night's decision, the Waveney councillor in charge of regeneration, Wendy Mawer, said: “I am very pleased that the application has been given the go-ahead and that the members of this authority recognise the importance of it, not only to Waveney and Suffolk, but also to Cefas.”

The three partners, particularly Waveney council and Cefas, joined forces after deciding their current buildings in the town were dilapidated and costing too much to run.

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Andrew Verney, the project agent for the Campus, said: “This building will allow the partners to operate more efficiently… and reduce the impact on council tax payers in the district.”

However, a number of concerns were raised about the design of the building and the potential traffic impact on the roads surrounding the area.

The Suffolk Preservation Society and even Waveney's own design team criticised the Campus design, but planning officers said it was in keeping with the industrial nature of the development site.

Just over 500 parking spaces will be made available to the 1,000 staff, raising concerns that neighbouring streets could be blighted by employees' cars. The committee was also told that the Campus would be built above ground level to combat the risk of flooding.

The project had been delayed as a result of the local government review, which could see Waveney council abolished, but potential successor authorities have committed themselves to the building.