Plans for a new chain pub and restaurant to be built on the site of a former doctors’ surgery in east Suffolk have been given the go-ahead, despite scores of community objections.

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JD Wetherspoon’s £2.6million proposals for the former Central Surgery at the top of Hamilton Road in Felixstowe were approved by Suffolk Coastal District Council’s south area planning committee yesterday.

The application had been recommended for approval by the council’s planning case officer Liz Beighton, who said the development represented confidence in the town and should act as a catalyst for further investment.

She said the pub would “offer more to visitors and residents alike and further the town as a destination to live and holiday”.

“The application will also offer employment opportunities in both its running as a public house but also its construction, and offer valuable training and employment for local residents,” she added.

In its design and access statement JD Wetherspoon said the proposals “present an opportunity to bring a viable, sustainable use to the currently under-used building”.

“The contribution this site makes to the quality of the area can therefore be considerably enhanced by this redevelopment,” the statement added.

“It is able to address a range of townscape and urban design issues dramatically improving the coherence and legibility of this area.”

Residents of the town, however, had voiced opposition to the proposals, with around 60 comments sent to the council’s planning department.

Terry Lomax, who is a grandfather living in Felixstowe, said scenes of drinking in the morning would leave a bad impression on young children, posing the question: “Do we really want that generation growing up to accept open air drinking during the daytime as the norm?”

Concerns were also raised about the pub’s attracting anti-social behaviour, which was also highlighted by several of those commenting.

Chrissie Weid, who also lives in the area, said she feared “desperately” for the surrounding residents.

“This establishment would be one of the first glimpses of Felixstowe on approach to the town and I do not consider it to be the impression its residents would encourage,” she added.

Concerns about the pub’s perceived negative impact on nearby cafes and tea shops, which also serve breakfast, were also raised by resident Dave Duncan.

Ms Beighton, in her report to councillors, said issues such as how the pub would be run, alcohol prices or competition with other businesses were not relevant matters for consideration.

9 comments

  • best news I herd in ages. At last SCDC get something right

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    Marc James

    Monday, August 25, 2014

  • JDW are a well run establishment serving the working man who can at least obtain a decent beer and a meal at reasonable prices. There was little protest as to say Prezzos. An example is the Corn Exchange in BSE, lovely building which JDW did a great job. Lighten up and enjoy yourselves, life is too short.

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    Joseph Marshall

    Sunday, August 24, 2014

  • No doubt Witherspoons have greased a palm or two, those on the SCDC planning committee do not live in Felixstowe but might have a day trip once!

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    DAblitt

    Sunday, August 24, 2014

  • Who drinks in a Wetherspoons? Students and alcoholics on a budget.

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    Alexander Emmerson

    Saturday, August 23, 2014

  • @beerlover....you're dead right about some of the daft objections. Another was lack of parking facilities. I wonder what that large plot of land is behind Co-op store up to Homebase then? Oh it's a car park!! This is good news at last, a bit of fresh life into Felixstowe. Shame about the farce of a store rumoured to be Aldi's next to the station though, now that is ridiculous.

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    Disbeliever

    Saturday, August 23, 2014

  • Yes finally the council make sense well done so cant wait for this some where to go to have a lovely family meal and a pint. As if your going to get anti social behavior there its not a club its a family pubrestaurant and at very food value. I see other local towns with wetherspoons doing very well at least it would keep people into town and travel further a field to eat. Its not just like a usual pub

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    Antony Perkins

    Friday, August 22, 2014

  • Well beerlover, there's people drinking in the garden and there is a larger than ever alcohol dependent section of the community. Young men these days I see so often walking around attached to a can, even out with their wivespartners and kids. Nice. Just look outside Chuffers most days at some of the stars outside. How do they afford to smoke and drink so much anyway? I have a good job and couldn't afford it. Not exactly an asset to the Co-op and other businesses in Great Eastern Square. I am not anti alcohol I just have better things to do than drink during the day. Still the council obviously know best.

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    james n

    Friday, August 22, 2014

  • Much depends on the design, but I'm a bit concerned that a succession of prominent sites in the town are being taken over by businesses that have built their growth by offering low prices - at the expense of all other factors, such as quality. Because these sites are prominent, they are starting to "set the tone" - and skew the retailing mix further from the attractive mixture that Felixstowe has offered consumers in the past. As others have said, first impressions count - so I hope the design of the pub is in keeping with the town. If it is, then I think Wetherspoons could be a positive - though it will undoubtedly prejudice the future of other pubs in Walton and Felixstowe from which it will take business.

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    KJP

    Friday, August 22, 2014

  • Frankly, some of the objections were downright ridiculous. Like "how awful that children might actually see people drinking in the pub's garden". Good grief!

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    beerlover

    Friday, August 22, 2014

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