July 31 2015 Latest news:
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Proposals to spend nearly £1.5million of taxpayers’ money on creating an upmarket wedding reception venue on Felixstowe seafront have been branded as “the height of stupidity”.
Experts who analysed the proposal for Felixstowe Town Council said the project was “an exciting opportunity” but carried substantial risk in trying to generate the business needed
The council was investigating an opportunity to buy the former district council offices, which also house the Tourist Information Centre, next to the Town Hall, Undercliff Road West, for £350,000.
It was felt that a possible use would be to create a venue for wedding receptions for couples marrying at the Town Hall or – another possibility – on the beach.
However, estimates from a building consultancy showed creating a dining room, dance hall with bar, kitchens, a two-bed apartment, and a shop, would cost more than £1m.
The town council, which had felt the project was worth investigating as it would be the last chance to acquire the premises and would give it power to control its future use, has agreed unanimously to reject the project.
Town councillor Stuart Bird said: “It would be the height of stupidity to enter into this venture.
“We are talking about a colossal amount of money and the need to attract more than 50 weddings a year just to break even.
“I think if I was paying £6,000 for a wedding reception I could find somewhere else rather than that scruffy building next door.
“We are councillors and we are not here to be business entrepreneurs – we should leave business to businessmen who have the acumen to take a risk. We are talking about risking taxpayers’ money here not our own private finance.”
Councillor Doreen Savage said the council already had a large mortgage which it was still paying for the purchase of the Town Hall and there was no need to saddle itself with more debt.