Waveney regeneration projects move closer as council backs £1.1m scheme

Mark Bee, Waveney District Council leader, said the projects were ones which would resonate with peo

Mark Bee, Waveney District Council leader, said the projects were ones which would resonate with people Picture: DAVID GARRAD

More than £1million in cash for key projects in north Suffolk has moved a step closer after getting the council’s backing.

Waveney District Council met on Wednesday night where approval was given for nine projects in line for a share of the £1.1m pot.

The cash comes from the business rates retention pilot – a scheme where Suffolk councils have been able to keep 100% of money through business rates for use on projects in their districts, rather than sending 50% to central government as previously.

In July the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders meeting – a gathering of all chief executives and leaders at the county, district and borough councils – announced £10m would be available for Suffolk’s councils.

East Suffolk will gain £3.6m, West Suffolk £2.6m, Ipswich £2m and Babergh and Mid Suffolk £2.2m.

Speaking following the announcement in July, Waveney District Council leader Mark Bee said: “These are really good schemes across East Suffolk that will really resonate with people.

“Our ability to work together and pool this, and have more local control over the projects.

“All can have long term impacts on the future economy of the district.”

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At Waveney, the projects set to get a portion of the cash include construction of supported housing in Cleveland Road, Lowestoft, for autistic people, installing a Future Fibre network, funding for the First Light Festival and public realm improvements in Lowestoft.

Others include a pedestrian and cycle crossing in Lowestoft, Post Office redevelopment, Riverside Quay survey and new chalets at South Beach.

The council’s backing now means that detailed business cases will be brought forward for each of the projects, and the cash approved should those cases prove successful.

Projects in Babergh and Mid Suffolk have already been approved, with Suffolk Coastal’s schemes expected to go before its full council meeting later this month.

Suffolk was one of 10 areas nationally to be chosen for the pilot after a successful bid.

While a 100% retention scheme will not happen, the government has announced it will trial a 75% scheme next year, with Suffolk due to find out in early December if its bid for the new scheme has been successful.

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