May 23 2013 Latest news:
BY RICHARD CORNWELL, Felixstowe editor
Friday, March 8, 2013
Experts are looking at the cost of a number of different options to smarten up Felixstowe’s derelict boating lake area for this summer.
Felixstowe Futures, which is co-ordinating the regeneration of the resort’s seafront, is keen to find a low-cost temporary solution which will not interfere with the long-term plans for the area.
Programme manager Joseph James said Sea Road, helping with the pier redevelopment and south seafront, and regenerating the area around the leisure centre, was the top priority for the next two years.
He said: “The boating lake is an opportunity and it’s also a challenge because we now risk another summer where nothing has happened and I know that’s critical to people’s minds, I am aware of that.
“I have been having meetings about short-term improvements but we don’t want to waste public money on things we then have to pull up again next year, but then again we don’t want another summer where it’s embarrassing to everybody and it’s not good for the resort.”
He revealed that when Suffolk Coastal put the 4,500sq m area, including the go-kart arena, boating lake, a large kiosk, and lawned area around a pond, up for sale just one bid was received. However, it was rejected because accepting it would have meant giving away the site for a peppercorn rent in perpetuity, which was not good value for money for the taxpayer.
Mr James is currently drawing up costings for a variety of options – including the possibility of filling the boating lake with sand to create an area for beach volleyball, sand sculpting and sandcastle making, or with hard core and soil and covered with turf as a picnic area.
Long-term options for the area include car parking to offset that lost when the front of the leisure centre becomes an outdoor events arena, and a site for a travelling funfairs, though projects wil have to take account of covenants, conditions and nearby householders.