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Future of Landguard attractions at Felixstowe brighter as group agrees to carry on

PUBLISHED: 16:11 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:11 07 March 2018

Last year's Armed Forces Day with the Royal Marine Band at Landguard Fort Picture: HARMAN HOPKINS

Last year's Armed Forces Day with the Royal Marine Band at Landguard Fort Picture: HARMAN HOPKINS

Harman H Hopkins, H3 Photography

Concerns for the future of a group managing one of Suffolk’s most popular tourist attractions have been eased after the members agreed to continue for another five years.

The thrilling re-enactment of the Battle of Landguard between the Dutch and English
 at Landguard Fort last summer. Picture: ANDY ABBOTTThe thrilling re-enactment of the Battle of Landguard between the Dutch and English at Landguard Fort last summer. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

The Languard Partnership is scheduled to fold next month after a decade of looking after the nationally-important peninsula.

However, the members of the group – who have been working on a £4million lottery grant bid to improve the heritage site – have agreed in principal to carry on for another five-year term with the option for another five after that.

Suffolk Coastal has agreed to give £72,000 over four years towards costs.

The Landguard peninsula is home to Landguard Fort – scene of the last attempted invasion of England’s shores by a foreign force – plus a 65-acre nature reserve, Felixstowe Museum, bird observatory, cafe and visitor centre, and the port viewing area.

It is visited by more than a million people every year to enjoy its heritage and nature attractions, walks, birdwatching, and special activities and events.

Geoff Holdcroft, deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development, said the partnership had been highly successful since 2008, making “significant improvement” in its attractions for visitors, making it an important destination for local people and those visiting from far and wide.

He said: “Visitor numbers show an unbroken trend of significant increases year on year, with something of the order of 650,000 vehicle visits, the fort recording a 16% increase in 2017, and the museum a similar level.

“And the Museum has just been awarded the Best Small Visitor Attraction in Suffolk & Norfolk.

Mr Holdcroft said the partners – who include Felixstowe Town Council, English Heritage, Natural England, Felixstowe History and Museum Society and the port – would continue to work to develop a Heritage Lottery Fund application.

The lottery bid will focus on the military history of the fort in particular and the peninsula as a whole with the aim to create a “singular, joined-up visitor experience” encompassing all the attractions and removing the barriers between the different elements of the site, both paid and physical.

One key project would be to create a viewing platform from the fort that offers the best panorama of land and seascape.

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