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Felixstowe: Call for answers over new £2m resort maritime park

16:29 08 February 2013

A computer-generated image of what Felixstowe

A computer-generated image of what Felixstowe's south seafront will look like when complete.

Archant

FEARS have been voiced today that a new maritime-themed park at Felixstowe will not have the “wow factor” needed to bring more visitors to the resort.

TIMELINE: South seafront

■ 1983: Secret discussions over the future of Felixstowe’s south seafront began. At the time the site was occupied by 1,000 beach huts.

■ 1987: Building company Fairclough signed up to develop the site with a leisure complex, entertainments hall, indoor bowling centre, roller-skating rink or water chute, ten-pin bowling, pub, restaurant, hotel and conference facilities, jetty, 84 flats and 36 houses, 140 beach huts, plus car and coach parks.

■ 1989: After 18 months of negotiation with Suffolk Coastal, Fairclough pulled out – never explaining why.

■ 1989: Despite protests, huts were removed from the site, leaving it desolate, as the council sought a new development partner.

■ 1990s: Recession failed to produce new ideas. Lost beach hut rents, admin and consultants’ costs, a failed bid to grass the site, compensation, and other charges cost council taxpayers around £2m.

■ 2009: Martello Park given go-ahead – 158 homes and leisure attractions, but the economic downturn delayed scheme.

■ 2012: Bloor Homes given new permission for 127 homes, including 13 affordable, plus play areas, water features, picnic areas and car parks. Martello Tower to be turned into a heritage attraction.

Town councillors were expecting the maritime-themed park to have a real “wow factor” – providing a new leisure experience for both residents and to bring extra visitors to the resort.

Original plans submitted said it would cost £2million and feature play facilities such as dancing water jets and a climb-on galleon.

Now this appears to have been reduced to £1.2m.

The park was the trade-off which persuaded councillors to ditch long-held hopes of a major tourist attraction being built on the resort’s 17-acre south seafront and allow a 127-home estate to be built instead.

Suffolk Coastal council and Bloor Homes struck a deal for the project which is set to net Bloor £31.7m from the houses, the first phase of which is currently under construction with homes for sale at £245,000 and £249,000.

In exchange for the land, the council will get some cash towards refurbishment of the Martello Tower, public car parking, and a park with play areas, picnic and wildlife areas, and a piece of land for a potential beachside café.

But the quality and quantity of the leisure facilities is worrying town councillors – and they, and Felixstowe Futures, have sent strong letters of concern to Suffolk Coastal chief executive Stephen Baker seeking answers.

Andy Smith, chairman of the plans committee, said the intention had been to allow enough homes to fund the play facilities and everyone was expecting attractions with a “wow factor”.

“There is considerable concern among Felixstowe councillors that we cannot find out any of the detail of what is being proposed and a suspicion that it is not going to be anywhere near as exciting or anywhere near as good as an attraction for the resort as we had hoped and discussed,” he said.

Suffolk Coastal said it wanted to ensure the “best possible deal” from the sale of the land and gain £1.2m much-needed leisure attractions for a key part of the resort.

“We have achieved an exciting range of play facilities for children of all ages, whether they be visitors or those living in the proposed homes or other local residents,” said a spokesman.

“Felixstowe Town Council has been fully consulted as the plans have developed and the layouts of the facilities have been finalised, and we are having regular meetings with Bloors and the town council as the development proceeds.

“We have worked hard to achieve a scheme that both successfully enhances the South Seafront area and keeps any ongoing costs to the council taxpayer down to a minimum.”

5 comments

  • Andrew Rose

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • And another thing… ive just looked at the Bloor Homes website for the Felixstowe development (http:bloorhomes.comdevelopmentsfelixstowe). The person that wrotechecked that obviously has never been near the town! Apparently the town of Felixstowe is named after the Port of Felixstowe – surely that’s the other way round, unless I have my local history wrong. The town has attractions that include a boating lake and Spa Pavillion Theatre – strictly true I guess but no mention of the boating lake having a hole in so its dried out and the Spa being boarded up until the Council work out how best to sell it off for flats!!! And that’s not to mention that the image they use at the top of the page of the beach – is not anywhere along the Felixstowe Beach, not with that combination of shifting shore and beach huts… but maybe im just being picky!!!

    Report this comment

    Homeofstowe

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • Are they seriously saying that Bloor didn't have to submit a plan and stick to it? What's the point in planning laws at all? You have to wonder where the missing 800 thousand went....

    Report this comment

    Tamara Knight

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • Surely there was a plan, submitted by Bloor Homes and agreed by Suffolk Coastal Council which formed part of the ‘contract’ to build on the land? So surely these would be in public domain so that the town council and Futures committee can have a look at what was agreed. It would go without saying that if SCC didn’t want to share the plans with the local council then perhaps their promises of £2m (which seems more like £1.2m now) was just part of a smoke and mirrors game for Bloor to get the land and SCC to finally get rid of the land that has been a ‘pain in the backside’ to them for decades. Either way, surely having the land developed is much better than letting it sit there and being taken over by travellers every few months!!!

    Report this comment

    Homeofstowe

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • Sounds like the councillors didn't do their job properly. Either there is a properly detailed plan which was agreed and to which Bloor Homes can be held or........someone didn't do the paperwork properly and the town councillors who are now bleating didn't check it properly. No point whining now - they should have done the job properly in the first place!

    Report this comment

    paul

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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