Defra agency gets go-ahead for £16m new HQ

Written by Jim Dunton on 16 October 2017 in News

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science granted planning permission for state-of-the art Lowestoft base

Cefas' proposed new headquarters in Lowestoft Credit: Cefas/Defra

A £16m project to provide the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science with a new headquarters in Lowestoft has won the backing of local-authority planners.

Under the plans, existing laboratory facilities used by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs executive agency will be refurbished, while a hotel building will be demolished to provide Cefas with space for a new three-storey office complex.

Waveney District Council also granted approval for outline proposals to create a new public pavilion for use as a restaurant and visitor centre at the site, near the seafront at Lowestoft.


Cefas, which provides the government with scientific evidence and advice to support the fishing industry and promote the sustainable use of the marine environment, has a total staff of around 530.

Agency chief executive Tom Karsten said the go-ahead represented a “new era” for marine science that would create a new centre of excellence and deliver significant savings in running costs.

“This project represents a vital step in realising our vision for Cefas: to deliver world class science for the marine and freshwater environment,” he said.

“I thank Defra, local councillors and planners for their commitment to these exciting proposals for our new Lowestoft headquarters.”

Under the plans, drawn up by Atkins Walters & Webster Architects, the laboratory refurbishment is due to commence next month, while work on the new office block is scheduled to start on-site in January, subject to the finalisation of funding arrangments. 

Cefas said it expected the project to complete by March 2019.

In addition to Lowestoft, the agency has a base in Weymouth and small port-based offices in Scarborough, Hayle and Plymouth.


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