Site Specific Allocations

Adopted January 2011

2. Lowestoft Area

Turbine.jpg2.1 Lowestoft is the largest town in the District with a population of 58,800 (2007). The town is situated on the coast in the north of the District. To the west are the Broads Authority area and the River Waveney. The town is divided between north and south by Lake Lothing which is a tidal inlet linking to the North Sea. Lowestoft Ness, the site of the Gulliver wind turbine, is the most easterly point in England.

2.2 Lowestoft is relatively well connected by train to Norwich and Ipswich. The A12 provides the main road access to Lowestoft from the north and south. To the west, the A143 and A146 provide the main links to the inland areas of the District and beyond.

2.3 Historically, Lowestoft was based upon a successful fishing industry and seaside resort. The area remains popular as a tourist destination but the fishing industry has significantly declined.

2.4 Lowestoft has two Conservation Areas located in the north and south of the town. Listed Buildings in the High Street date from the 16th Century, whilst the Peto Terraces and areas surrounding St Peter's Church in south Lowestoft represent Lowestoft's period of expansion to become a seaside resort during the second half of the 19th Century. Although the Beach fishing village was demolished in the 1960's, the area still contains evidence of its links with the fishing industry including merchants houses, a number of old net stores, net drying areas and smoke houses. St Margaret's and St Peter's churches provide landmarks to the people of north and south Lowestoft respectively.

2.5 Lake Lothing is the traditional industrial heartland of Lowestoft. Despite the decline in the fishing industry it remains an important port for the East of England. Other significant industrial areas in the town include the South Lowestoft Industrial Estate and Oulton Industrial Estate.

2.6 The area around Lake Lothing has been designated in the Core Strategy as an area for major employment-led regeneration. A mix of uses are proposed including housing, retail and leisure. The proposed 'power park', focused on the port, the Gulliver wind turbine and OrbisEnergy enterprise centre for offshore renewable technologies, provide a major opportunity to transform the local economy and bring wider social and environmental benefits to the area.

1st East Logo.jpg2.7 The Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour Area Action Plan, being prepared in conjunction with 1st East, Urban Regeneration Company, will set down policies and proposals to bring about this change. 1st East is an important delivery vehicle in implementing the Area Action Plan.

2.8 Lowestoft town centre acts as a day to day shopping centre, for the town and the surrounding area. It also provides a focus for employment, services and facilities including leisure and entertainment. London Road North is the main shopping centre, with Kirkley and Oulton Broad providing additional shops and services.

2.9 The harbour and Lake Lothing forms a barrier to good connections between the northern and southern parts of the town. There are two bridge crossings, one at the east end of Lake Lothing which is a bascule bridge and another to the west of Lake Lothing in Oulton Broad. As a result traffic congestion is a problem in the town and managing the movement of people across the town in a sustainable way is a challenge.

2.10 Carlton Colville and Oulton used to be separate villages. Over time, new development has resulted in these villages becoming connected to Lowestoft. Carlton Colville, located on the south side of the town, has experienced a significant increase in residential population which is currently approximately 8,210 (2007). Oulton is located to the north west and has a population of 4,140 (2007).

2.11 Kessingland is situated on the coast, approximately three miles south of Lowestoft. This is the largest village in Waveney with a population of 4,380 (2007). It has a wider range of services and facilities than the other villages to provide for the needs of the community. Tourism provides some local employment but the village is heavily reliant on Lowestoft for employment and a range of services and facilities. Only limited development will be permitted until infrastructure has been improved.

2.12 Blundeston is located approximately two miles north west of Lowestoft and has a population of 1,620 (2007). The village has a rural setting and is about one mile from the Broads Authority area. Corton, population 1,140 (2007), is situated on the coast about one mile north of Lowestoft, close to the boundary with Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Coastal erosion issues are of significant concern in this area. These two villages have only limited services and facilities to provide for community needs, although some future development may be acceptable.

Delivering the Core Strategy Vision for the Lowestoft Area

2.13 The Core Strategy has highlighted several issues in the Lowestoft area that need to be addressed. The major need is to regenerate the heart of the town and the Area Action Plan will assist in bringing about this change through various land use proposals. In addition, needs outside this area include the provision of housing, employment land, tourism accommodation and community facilities such as new sports pitches in Lowestoft and Kessingland, a new primary school in north Lowestoft, additional open space and allotments and land for a cemetery including a crematorium. Public consultation on the preparation of the Site Specific Allocations document has assisted in identifying how these needs can be met as part of the long-term development plan.

Residential Development
Housing Construction.jpg2.14 Core Strategy policies CS01: Spatial Strategy and CS11: Housing, indicate that most housing growth in Waveney to 2025 will take place in Lowestoft (including Oulton and Carlton Colville); around 70-80% of the total housing growth in the District as a whole.

2.15 Previously developed land will be the priority for housing development. As set out in Core Strategy policy CS05: Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour Area Action Plan, around 1,500 new homes are expected to be built on previously developed land within the Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour area of central Lowestoft. Sites to accommodate these dwellings will be identified in the separate Area Action Plan currently being prepared for this area.

2.16 The Waveney Housing Market Assessment (2007) found that Lowestoft had by far the highest levels of housing need in Waveney. There is a particular need for smaller 1 and 2 bedroom accommodation, although small amounts of larger 3 and 4 bedroom affordable properties are also required.

2.17 As identified in Core Strategy policy CS01: Spatial Strategy, smaller settlements in the Lowestoft area, including the Larger Villages of Blundeston, Corton and Kessingland, may be appropriate locations for small developments of affordable housing where a local need is demonstrated. A development of affordable homes in Blundeston has already been delivered under the rural exceptions policy, in response to a local housing needs assessment carried out to inform the Blundeston and Flixton Parish Plan. At the current time, no local housing needs assessments have been undertaken to demonstrate a local need for affordable housing in other villages. As a result, no sites have been allocated at this time.

2.18 The Council has already made good progress towards meeting the target for housing delivery in the District and focusing most housing development in Lowestoft. Locations for 3,270 new homes have already been identified in Lowestoft, including Oulton and Carlton Colville, between 2001 and 2009. A further 179 new dwellings have been identified in Kessingland during this period, with 47 in Blundeston and 23 in Corton.

2.19 Given the amount of housing already developed or with planning permission, and the expectation that 1,500 dwellings will be allocated in the Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour Area Action Plan, this document allocates land for approximately 300 additional dwellings in Lowestoft. These new dwellings will be provided through a range of 7 sites, most of which are brownfield. Several of the sites are mixed use sites that seek to deliver employment or tourism uses in addition to housing.

2.20 Although not necessary to achieve the target distribution, some small-scale development may still take place in the Larger Villages and elsewhere outside of the towns, in accordance with national and local policies.

2.21 The East of England Plan sets an indicative target of 5,000 new jobs in Waveney between 2001 and 2021, and it identifies Lowestoft as a Regionally Strategic Employment Location. Although the intent of the Secretary of State is to abolish the Regional Spatial Strategy the jobs growth target remains a priority for Waveney.

2.22 It is proposed in the Waveney Core Strategy that 70-80% of the additional jobs in the District should be provided in Lowestoft, to match the provision of housing and address current shortages. The Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour area of central Lowestoft has been identified in the Core Strategy as a strategic area for employment. Sites to accommodate new employment development in this area, including land to support a renewable energy cluster and the emerging knowledge economy, will be allocated in the Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour Area Action Plan. Only sites outside of the Area Action Plan area will be addressed in this document.

2.23 The Waveney Employment Land Study (2006) recognised that there could potentially be a need for further industrial land to be allocated. 16.06 hectares of land is being allocated for industrial use (LOW2) to the south of the South Lowestoft Industrial Estate, Gisleham.

Other Community Needs
2.24 Core Strategy Policy CS14: Culture, identifies the main sports facility deficiencies in the Lowestoft area. These include football, cricket, athletics, tennis and rugby. Part of Oakes Farm, in Carlton Colville (LOW11) has been allocated to meet these needs. The site could provide a community sports hub. It is ideally located adjacent to a large residential population and accessible by various modes of transport. The Lowestoft and Yarmouth Rugby Club, based in the north of the town, has been particularly keen to provide improved facilities for rugby. Site LOW11 provides an opportunity for them to relocate and address the needs of the Club, although they would ideally like to be located in north Lowestoft. Identifying a deliverable site in the north of the town at the current time has proven difficult but to enable the Club to realise a future opportunity, part of their existing site is allocated for housing development (LOW7).

2.25 The Waveney Core Strategy also highlights the need for additional playing fields in Kessingland and site LOW10 seeks to address this shortfall.

Kirkley Cemetery.jpg2.26 The Open Space Needs Assessment (2006) identifies a shortfall in open space and an increasing level of demand for allotments, with south Lowestoft having one of the lowest levels of provision of allotments per 1,000 population in the District. There is therefore a need to identify additional land close to residential areas to meet demand. The development of site LOW9 will provide an opportunity to provide some additional allotments and open space in the north of the town. Further provision in the south of the town still needs to be addressed.

2.27 There is also a need to allocate more burial land in Lowestoft, since the existing cemeteries are becoming full. The Lowestoft area would also benefit from a new crematorium, since no facilities currently exist for cremation services within the District. Site opportunities have been explored but it has been difficult to identify a site where the landowner is willing to support such a proposal. Lowestoft has adequate cemetery land for at least the next 10 years, so this issue will be addressed through a review of this development plan document.

2.28 Suffolk County Council have continued to identify the need for a new primary school in Oulton (LOW1). Great Yarmouth and Waveney NHS Trust have identified a need for new health centres in north and south Lowestoft. Provision in the north is related to the Woods Meadow housing development in Oulton, a site that already has planning permission and provision in the south is likely to be met in the Area Action Plan area of Lowestoft.

2.29 The Schools Organisation Review (SOR) taking place across the District has identified Pakefield Middle School as the location for a further High School for the town. The Review is also likely to result in some school sites being surplus to requirements. Progress has not been sufficiently advanced for the sites likely to be disposed of in Lowestoft to be fully considered in preparing this document. These sites may, therefore, provide additional opportunities to meet the needs of the local community. Proposals will be assessed against policies in the Core Strategy and the Development Management Policies documents.

2.30 Suffolk County Council, through the Local Transport Plan and Lowestoft Transport Strategy, are promoting several schemes affecting Lowestoft, as set out in Policy CS15: Sustainable Transport of the Core Strategy. Cycle and pedestrian crossings of Lake Lothing, the transport interchange at the railway station, improvements to Denmark Road and an access road south of Lake Lothing will be addressed through the Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour Area Action Plan. The Plan will also identify a potential route for a third road crossing of Lake Lothing.

2.31 The Proposals Map identifies the route corridors for other schemes, including the Northern Spine Road for Lowestoft. The A146 Barnby to Carlton Colville Bypass has not been identified on the Proposals Map as the County Council are of the view that without 'enabling' development it is unlikely to be developed in the short term.

Lowestoft Area Site AllocationsLowestoft Area Site Allocations Table