Felixstowe: New Martello Park has potential to be money-maker for town council, says Suffolk Coastal

Youngsters from Langer Primary School test driving the new play equipment at the £25million Martello Park, Felixstowe. Left to right, Dennis Clifford and Callum Stevenson. Youngsters from Langer Primary School test driving the new play equipment at the £25million Martello Park, Felixstowe. Left to right, Dennis Clifford and Callum Stevenson.

Richard Cornwell richard.cornwell@archant.co.uk
Thursday, April 24, 2014
2:00 PM

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.

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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.”

5 comments

  • At least the Town Council appear to have made the right decision. Hard to imagine how two tiny kiosks and a "to be built" cafe are going to generate enough rateable income to support the maintenance of the site. Poorly designed, poorly built and poorly thought out. I foresee a slowly decaying white elephant, when all the planting dies in the first storms, all the pebbles are blown across the paths and the playground equipment gets broken and vandalised. It's sad, but that appears to be the way of the world.

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    Marc Turner

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • So where are the toilets for the people who use this facility and - even more importantly - for the beach hut owners at Manor End? They have to walk a long way along the prom to find one. Disgraceful - but not surprising when considering the incompetence of Suffolk Coastal.

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    besidetheseaside

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

  • I thought it was the town council that promoted this development 30 years ago when Doreen Savage was in the vanguard. All this time and money later the don't see any financial benefit and step back so the rest of SCDC ratepayers can pay for their amenities while already paying for their own through town and parish levies. This governments subsidies for societies rich have much to answer for.

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    amsterdam81

    Friday, April 25, 2014

  • When one considers the vast sums of money wasted and lost by SCDC over the near 25 years they dithered and messed around with this site, Mr Herring ought to hang his head in shame. Beach huts were thrown off in the late 1980's and the land stood empty thereby depriving the community of all those years rents. The Herman de Sterne conveniently burnt down having been left empty when many local Groups begged to use it for the community. "Deals" came and went and more money wasted. Now it's a money-spinner!! More pigs flying these days......

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    Disbeliever

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Oh dear, what a load of self serving, political spin Mr Herring. All you have done is prove yet again that councils, whatever their size, are wholly unfit to tackle anything remotely commercial in nature. What an unedifying sight to see the leader of SCDC using the press to criticise a town council like this and no doubt set up a pretext for its own mismanagement of the site over the next few years. And to think we have to pay the costs for these two public bodies to waste time, effort and resources in having silly little arguments between themselves over who should a couple of kiosks. Pathetic.

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    paul

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

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