July 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Community leaders who rejected the chance to take over ownership of a new £2.3million seafront park were made a “comprehensive and generous offer” of £260,000 to pay for its upkeep, it has been revealed.
Felixstowe Town Council turned down Suffolk Coastal’s offer to run the new Martello Park, which has been built as part of the £25m Martello Park 127-home development on the resort’s 17-acre south seafront, after deciding it was too much of a financial risk.
Town councillors believed it could cost up to £100,000 a year for maintenance and to put aside cash for future replacement of play equipment, surfacing and lights.
Commenting on the town council’s decision, Suffolk Coastal leader Ray Herring said: “The district council has a policy of encouraging the development of strong local communities by enabling them to take responsibility for the facilities in their area.
“Experience has shown that facilities which we devolve to local town and parish councils, as well as community groups, tend to flourish and the communities have usually welcomed the opportunity to manage these facilities, in line with their local needs.”
He said talks with the town council had highlighted the potential income generation of the park site, which includes two kiosks, the freehold of the proposed cafe site and the Martello Tower.
Mr Herring said: “Aside from these money-making opportunities, these facilities are brand new and in pristine condition, so need minimal upkeep in the short-term.
“As part of the proposal, Suffolk Coastal offered a one-off transitory payment of £200,000 to cover any maintenance costs, as well as £60,000 spread across three years to allow for the income generation to reach its potential.
As I have said previously, I feel this was a comprehensive and generous offer, which we made in good faith and in line with our current policy across the district.
“However, the decision not to grasp the opportunity to manage these excellent facilities for the benefit of the local community rests solely with Felixstowe Town Council and we will, of course, respect their decision.”