A seasonal message from your Mayor
As we leap into the 2019 holiday season, it’s a good time for all of us to reflect on the high points of the fading year and look forward to a bright new future. Lowestoft Town Council is no different and we can look back at a very busy year of accomplishments achieved by the hard work by the entire Town Council team. Every day in 2019 brought new challenges, new ideas and new projects - all for the people of Lowestoft.
In May, we had an election and with that a change in the Town Councillors elected by you, but that didn’t slow us down a bit. The business of the council that you don’t often see, like setting budgets, dealing with contracts, consultations, researching new projects, serving the people of Lowestoft and contributing to the civic life of the town continued without a pause for breath.
Lowestoft Town Council has responsibilities for managing our parks and assets, putting on events and civic ceremonies, and advocating for the town. Lowestoft is a wonderful place to live and work and our aspirations are high. As always we are grateful to the work of our Friends of Groups and were delighted for the Friends of Kensington Gardens when they were awarded Gold in the Lowestoft in Bloom awards.
Working towards those high aspirations, the Town Council has a systematic plan to rejuvenate our play parks and this year we upgraded Nightingale Road and Stoven Close so that our young people have nicer places to play. In our major parks we have been working steadily on upgrades and maintenance, such as replacing the heritage columns on the bowl club in Kensington Gardens and undertaking a tree and bulb planting programme.
Next year we’re working with East Suffolk Council and are applying for a grant to improve the Whitton Green, and we’ll be exploring possibilities for Denes Oval, Sparrow’s Nest, and you’re going to see some much needed repairs in Belle Vue. The much-heralded Ness Park is just weeks away from breaking ground and the new year will see this major seaside park opening up.
We have been working with the Marina Theatre (Lowestoft Town Council owns the building) and have worked on a plan of repairs. Next year you’ll see more repairs and a major commitment to replacing some very technical theatre equipment that we hope will allow the Marina Theatre offer a better range of shows. The Town Council has also supported the arts in Lowestoft through grants and other support. We were the only local council to contribute to the First Light Festival and other events have been staged, such as the successful Christmas Fair at Sparrows Nest and the Waves and Wheels Festival which were both part of awareness raising for the forthcoming Ness Park by Britain’s most easterly point.
In June, the Town Council were the first local council in Suffolk to declare a climate emergency and as part of this we formed a Climate Change Committee and facilitated the Lowestoft Climate Action Group. Our work on the Lowestoft Neighbourhood Development Plan continues, and following earlier public consultation, draft policies relating to the future development of the town are being written. The Plan will also protect some of the limited areas of green open space the town has. Something we know our residents are particularly keen on and something which will work to addressing some of the goals of the Climate Change committee.
Civic events we organised this last year included Holocaust Day Ceremonies, D Day Commemorations and, in November, very well received Remembrance Day events. Next year we have already committed to supporting the First Light Festival and Armed Forces Day and we have plans to expand our events profile to create even more opportunities for the people of Lowestoft to enjoy the arts, get together with their neighbours, and support our great community.
We are continuing our goal to support and preserve our unique Lowestoft heritage. We supported Lowestoft’s very successful Heritage Open Days through grants and opening the Town Hall and other venues. The Town Council’s commitment to our Heritage Action Zones, and local heritage initiatives can’t be downplayed. For instance, this year we repurposed the Kensington Ammo Bunker on the promenade and will be offering that as a pop up arts venue. Next year we will be an active supporter of the South Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone and our mission to rejuvenate the iconic Town Hall will continue.
We were awarded a grant from Historic England for emergency repairs to the Town Hall, and those have successfully been completed. We have completed the first step (a feasibility study) in our journey to fund the massive repairs needed to bring this grand old building back to full use and in January that study will be released to the public. We will then work towards the next round of grants for the architecture and technical work needed for major, multi-million pound grant submissions.
The Town Council offices will close at 5.00 pm on Friday 20 December and reopen at 9.00 am on Thursday 2 January. If you have an urgent matter relating to one of our assets during this period, please contact East Suffolk Norse on 0345 402020.
Wishing you a peaceful holiday and a happy new year.