Site Specific Allocations

Adopted January 2011

LOW8 - CEFAS Labratory, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft

Allocation: Tourism and Residential

LOW8.jpg

Context
2.95 The CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) laboratory occupies a prominent position on Pakefield Cliffs overlooking the beach. The former Grand Hotel, an impressive Victorian building overlooking the sea, is located on the eastern part of the site. To the west and north are lower, more utilitarian structures dating from the twentieth century, housing additional laboratories and offices. There are also paved areas of car parking.

2.96 The site is situated near the junction of Kirkley Cliff Road and Pakefield Road, and is easily accessible by road, pavement or public transport. It is located at the southern end of Lowestoft's seafront promenade. Kensington Gardens are located to the north of the site, and there is an area of open space and car parking to the south. A footpath runs along the southern and eastern boundaries of the site, linking the car park to the Promenade.

Proposed Development
2.97 LOW8 is a brownfield site within the built up area of Lowestoft, which will become vacant when CEFAS move to new accommodation.

2.98 It has good access to services, facilities and public transport. This makes it a good location for housing or tourism uses, in keeping with Core Strategy policies. This seafront location is well connected to other tourism development and attractions, such as the beaches in Lowestoft and Pakefield and seafront gardens. The site lies just outside the South Lowestoft Conservation Area. The Grade II listed St Nicholas South Cliff Roman Catholic Church is directly opposite the site entrance on Pakefield Road.

2.99 Although not a listed building, the former Grand Hotel is of local historic importance as a rare survival of a Victorian hotel in Lowestoft, and an important local landmark. This building should be retained and sympathetically converted for future tourist accommodation (or other tourism use). Given the size of the building there may be some potential for a mix of tourist and residential accommodation.

2.100 The more modern buildings on the northern part of the site could be redeveloped for housing. The site lends itself to a development of flats. A development of 3 to 4 storeys at a density of 145 per hectare, based on similar developments in the locality, could deliver approximately 50 flats of a mix of types and sizes. In accordance with policy DM18 'Affordable Housing' of the Development Management Policies, a proportion of affordable housing should be provided. The design of any new development on the site should respect its setting on the edge of the Conservation Area.

LOW8 Image 1.jpg2.101 One of the main issues affecting this cliff-top site is the risk of coastal erosion. This is a defended stretch of coastline, protected by groynes and a sea wall, and the current Shoreline Management Plan includes a policy of 'Hold the Line' for this area. Given the dense residential development inland of this site, it is likely this area will continue to be defended in future plans. Given the vulnerable seafront location of the site, the risk of coastal erosion and the impact of climate change for the lifetime of the proposed development should be investigated as part of the application process. Any planning application should therefore include a Coastal Erosion Vulnerability Assessment and will be required to demonstrate that it will have no adverse material impact on the management of coastal processes.

2.102 The Open Space Needs Assessment (2006) identified significant shortages of open space in south Lowestoft, including amenity greenspace, children's play facilities, natural greenspace and parks and gardens. South Lowestoft also has one of the lowest levels of provision of allotments per 1,000 population in the District. The redevelopment of this site does not provide an opportunity to meet the need for further open space or allotments on site, but housing development in this location will increase the population of the area and therefore exacerbate demand. It is therefore considered appropriate to seek a financial contribution towards the provision and/or enhancement of open space and allotments elsewhere in the area. This will be in addition to any 'on-site' provision associated with the development.

2.103 The County Archaeologist advises that the site has been partly surveyed, and known archaeology indicates the presence of a Roman settlement. It is recommend that a condition relating to archaeological investigation should be attached to any planning permission.

Policy LOW8

The CEFAS Laboratory, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, (1.25ha), is allocated for tourism and residential use (approximately 50 flats). The site will be developed in accordance with the following site specific criteria:
• The Victorian former Grand Hotel building should be retained and sympathetically converted for tourism accommodation or other tourism use or a mix of tourist and residential accommodation.
• Housing would be considered appropriate on the northern part of the site currently occupied by more modern buildings. A mix of flats of different sizes and tenures should be provided in accordance with Development Management Policies.
• The design of new development should be sympathetic to its surroundings and its setting on the edge of the Conservation Area.
• A condition relating to archaeological investigation should be attached to any planning application.
• A Coastal Erosion Vulnerability Assessment should be prepared as part of the application process to assess and mitigate the risk of coastal erosion and the impact of the development on the management of coastal processes.
• Existing footpaths around the site boundaries should be retained.
• A financial contribution should be made towards the provision of open space (including allotments) in South Lowestoft.
• A Flood Risk Assessment should be prepared as part of the application process to assess and mitigate the risk of flooding from surface water drainage.

 

Implementation
2.104 Given the prominence and sensitive location of this site, a development brief should be prepared for the site, either by the local authority or any future developer in conjunction with the local authority. CEFAS will need to move to alternative accommodation before redevelopment of the site and therefore the timescale for implementation of the proposal is likely to be medium term.