Waveney Local Plan

Settlement Specific Key Issues

Key issues in Lowestoft, Carlton Colville, Oulton and Oulton Broad

014 Net Drying Racks

Lowestoft, together with Carlton Colville, Oulton and Oulton Broad represent the largest built up area in the District with a combined population of nearly 70,000 people. The town, which is the most easterly in England, is sandwiched between the North Sea to the east and the Broads National Park to the west. The town is divided north and south by Lake Lothing. The town has good connections to Great Yarmouth to the north. Rail connections to Norwich are relatively good but to Ipswich and beyond are particularly poor with journeys taking around 90 minutes to get to Ipswich.

Most social problems in the District are more acute in Lowestoft, particularly the central areas. Life expectancy is lower in some of the central wards of Lowestoft than the rest of the District, and death rates are higher. The Normanston ward of Lowestoft has the highest proportion of the population which is obese in the District and is much higher than the national average. Nine neighbourhoods in the town are within the 10% most deprived in the country and the Harbour and Kirkley wards have unemployment levels which are double the regional average.

Lowestoft benefits from a rich natural and built environment. The town has a significant number of heritage assets including the historic High Street and the seafront area of South Lowestoft. The town has good access to the protected landscapes and habitats of the Broads and is in close proximity to the protected habitats along the Suffolk coast to the south. The landscapes to the north and west of the town are particularly attractive and sensitive to change. There are pockets of high grade agricultural land to the north and south of the town. Large parts of central Lowestoft are at risk from flooding. The Council is working with partners to ensure the delivery of strategic flood protection measures to mitigate these risks. It is anticipated these measures will be complete by 2021.

015 BoatsLowestoft's economy was traditionally based on fishing and manufacturing. These sectors have declined significantly in recent years. However, due to planned investments in offshore renewables in the southern North Sea, there is significant potential for future jobs growth. The town significantly benefits from the Port of Lowestoft from which many offshore companies operate as well as a small fishing fleet. The port is directly opposite major continental ports and serves the busy sea routes between the UK and Europe. It is also the closest port to many of the offshore wind farms planned off the coast of East Anglia. The port covers 40 hectares of land and is comprised of a protected outer harbour and an inner harbour beyond the Bascule Bridge. The port handles around 100,000 tonnes of cargo each year. It is currently establishing itself as a renewables centre of excellence and is home to the construction and operation management bases of Galloper and East Anglia ONE offshore wind farms and is the operation and maintenance base for Greater Gabbard.

The town's economy benefits from its strong links to Great Yarmouth, which also profits from the offshore sector. Tourism is an important sector to the town, and its unique position between the Broads and the sandy beaches on the North Sea help attract high numbers of tourists each year. The town is quite self contained with 54% of working people living in the town also working in the town. However, an increasing number of residents are commuting to Great Yarmouth for work.

Traffic congestion is considered to be an issue which holds back economic growth. Particularly, there are issues at the two crossings of Lake Lothing. A third crossing over Lake Lothing is planned to be in place by 2022 to help alleviate traffic congestion in the town, improve connectivity and help deliver regeneration sites. There are also more localised issues of traffic congestion. Carlton Colville Primary School has a large catchment area and is located some distance from the main built up area of Carlton Colville. As such many parents drive their children to school which creates local congestion and road safety issues.

Lowestoft town centre acts as a day-to day shopping centre for residents of the town and the surrounding area. However, its catchment is quite small, given its coastal location and competition from nearby centres of Great Yarmouth and Norwich. The town centre has suffered in recent years with higher levels of vacant shop units and residents consider that the shopping offer could be better. It is expected that the third crossing over Lake Lothing will help reduce the effect of traffic in the town centre and the planned flood protection measures will encourage inward investment in the town centre nearer the Bascule Bridge. These projects will therefore help address some of the challenges the centre faces.