The North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone masterplan is a town centre study that JSA has developed on behalf of East Suffolk Council as part of its Towns Fund programme. This in itself will constitute part of a wider £250 million regeneration of Lowestoft.

East Sussex Council 

March – September 2021

Project Objectives

The project focuses on the diverse heritage of Lowestoft – the mediaeval centre of the old town with its tightly clustered buildings on an historic footprint, its unique ‘Scores’ (pathways that connected the high street with the fishing-focused beach village below) and the historic port of Lowestoft and its long connection with the herring trade.

The North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone masterplan has been submitted to government as part of East Suffolk’s £24 million Towns Fund submission.

Issues, Challenges and Outcomes

The masterplan is focusing on the use of heritage as a driver for regeneration, using the research into the heritage of the town centre that has been carried out as part of the council’s Heritage Action Zone project. By celebrating and restoring the historic fabric of the town and embodying within this the many stories attached to this unique place, the masterplan will act as a catalyst for positive change, addressing in turn many of the issues that Lowestoft currently faces.

Amongst these issues was the need to engineer a modal shift from car use to enhanced facilities for cyclists and for pedestrians. The masterplan area is beset with issues around vehicular access and parking which undermine the character and functionality of the space. Our transport strategy colleagues Motion assessed current patterns of connectivity and circulation and developed new proposals for the design of highways infrastructure and for parking arrangements to promote active travel modes.

The masterplan was also focused on promoting the activation of spaces and the steps to promote and support the night-time economy as a means of encouraging new audiences to makes use of the town centre and to support the local economy and businesses. Our team included Insight Lighting who recommended ways to activate urban spaces, reinforcing the unity between buildings and the spaces between them.

The town centre and the Scores running from the core masterplan area are characterised by a wealth of individual stories and one of the objectives of the masterplan was to use various media to record and promulgate these stories to reinforce the identity of the town. Our public art consultant Wiard Sterk proposed a variety of approaches to recording these stories and proposed ways in which programmes for public art could be developed by and for the community to encourage pride in place.

It was essential that masterplan proposals were developed with the involvement of multiple stakeholders and the local community as a whole. The project was delivered during the height of the second wave of the Covid pandemic and government guidelines dictated the development of an online only approach to engagement. We agreed a consultation matrix with the client and developed a suite of digital engagement methodologies that guaranteed that discussions were as broadly-based as possible. These included a permanent interactive online gallery, one-to-one focused interviews, focus groups and larger workshops.

Services

  • Landscape Masterplanning