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Work set to begin on a new pier for Felixstowe

17:46 07 August 2015

An artist

An artist's impression of the new Felixstowe Pier.

Archant

Work is set to start on Felixstowe’s new pier next year – with the deal done and steel for its construction on order.

The Felixstowe Pier will undergo refurbishments.The Felixstowe Pier will undergo refurbishments.

But creation of a new pier will be a phased project – with the full scheme progressing if the first stage is a success.

Pier owner Stan Threadwell said the project had been scaled-down because of the costs involved, but the good news is that work will start next year.

It will take 36 weeks to demolish the current pier and construct the new pier and the aim is to start in autumn 2016 ready for a grand opening the following June.

Mr Threadwell said: “The intention had been to start work on September 16 but we have unfortunately had some slippage in the programme.

The Felixstowe Pier will undergo refurbishments.The Felixstowe Pier will undergo refurbishments.

“We need to conclude our negotiations with the council over a construction compound at the leisure centre but that cannot now come before cabinet for a final decision as quickly as we had hoped.

“That means I cannot give the contractors a firm intent and with the work taking 36 weeks we need it to be done so that we are open for July and August and do not miss that summer opportunity.

“We have agreed the deal and the steel is ordered, and I am sure the 12 months will go really fast and everything will be under way before we know it.”

The pier plans agreed three years ago approved a two-storey seaside entertainment complex, with mezzanine floor, along the prom with cafes, restaurants, bowling facility, and leisure attractions, linked to a function suite seating 325 people, and a high-tech observation deck to watch the shipping.

Mr Threadwell said the outer elements – the function suite – had now been omitted, though there would still be a 250 yard jetty at the rear of the entertainments complex.

He said: “The changes will make the project more economically viable than it was.

“It will mean we don’t have to do any marine piling at this stage. The pier has been designed so it can be phased and in a few years’ time if all goes well, we can add the function suite – sort of bolt it on.”

Initially part of the derelict boating lake area was to be used as the construction compound and the pier should have been completed by now.

However, it has taken considerable time behind the scenes to sort out leases with the Crown Estates for the seabed, plus lengthy negotiations with the Environment Agency over changes to sea defences, involving raising the prom 1.2m to link the leisure centre car park and pier main entrance on the same level.

Meanwhile, Suffolk Coastal is drawing up plans to revamp the boating lake and this area can no longer be used as a compound.

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