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It’s go, go, go for Lotus expansion plans as first phases receive council approval

PUBLISHED: 16:49 07 November 2018

An artists' impression of the new customer experience centre planned by Lotus at its Hethel headquarters. Picture: Feilden+Mawson.

An artists' impression of the new customer experience centre planned by Lotus at its Hethel headquarters. Picture: Feilden+Mawson.

Archant

One of the best known Norfolk-based brands can gear up to expand its base, after the first phase of its scheme was approved.

As part of its 70th anniversary celebrations, car manufacturers Lotus has identified a variety of ways it wants to improve its site in Hethel.

Four applications have been submitted to South Norfolk Council across an ambitious scheme to transform the site into a must-see destination for motoring fans.

The first two stages of this project have now been unanimously approved by SNC’s planning committee - including an innovative design for a customer experience base.

Alongside this, the heritage brand was also given permission to add a viewing platform to the roof of the former control building on the site.

Stuart Jones, of Feilden and Mawson architects, who worked with the brand on the scheme, told committee members the expansion would be a significant improvement for the company.

He said: “The customer experience base has been designed to reflect the way Lotus wants to present its brand for years to come.

“Brand perception is as important nowadays as it ever has been and the plans demonstrate the company’s continual commitment to Norfolk and Hethel.”

He added that the building had been designed to provide a “fully immersing experience for customers and VIPs” visiting the site.

Some concerns were raised at the meeting that the expansion could exacerbate existing noise pollution surrounding the site, including from Colin Rudd, of Bracon Ash and Hethel Parish Council.

Mr Rudd insisted that recent years had seen increasing use of the test track on site, particularly from the Lotus Driving Academy.

However, council officers insisted this could not be taken into consideration by the committee, as the use of the test track was “incidental” to both applications before them.

Both applications were given unanimous approval from members of the committee.

Lotus must now wait to discover if its two further applications will receive the same approval.

The brand’s remaining applications relate to a new heritage museum celebrating its 70 year history and improvements to security, parking and landscaping on the site and will be decided in due course.

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