£25million seafront project criticised

HERITAGE chiefs today criticised proposals for a £25 million regeneration project for Felixstowe seafront and said it should go back to the drawing board.

HERITAGE chiefs today criticised proposals for a £25 million regeneration project for Felixstowe seafront and said it should go back to the drawing board.

Suffolk Coastal council and its partner Bloor Homes have designed a maritime park with 158 homes for the resort's 17-acre south seafront.

But English Heritage is deeply concerned about the “major impact” the project will have on Martello Tower P in the centre of the site between Orford Road and Manor Terrace.

The organisation is particularly concerned about the effect on the Napoleonic tower's four-acre square military enclosure, the only example in the county and important regionally and nationally.

John Ette, team leader and inspector of ancient monuments for English Heritage, said: “The proposal for construction of a number of the 158 dwellings adjacent to the tower would have a significant adverse affect on the current open setting of the monument.

“The application appears to exclude any commitments to securing the use, repair and maintenance of the tower contrary to local plan policy.

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“We therefore suggest the scheme be redesigned to safeguard the setting of the monument.”

The Martello Tower was one of six built in 1808 to guard Felixstowe's beaches from a feared invasion by Napoleon's forces - part of a chain along the east coast.

Mr Ette said the tower was of great national significance and its military compound, now enclosed by a Victorian iron fence, was well preserved.

The current plans were an improvement on those rejected a year ago but would still have a major impact on the tower.

Council cabinet member Rae Leighton said the Martello Tower will be the main focus for the central area of the park and at least £220,000 had been allocated by Bloor Homes for repair and refurbishment of the monument in close liaison with English Heritage.

“We hope it will eventually be converted into an arts centre but there is a great deal of restoration work that needs to be done first, which would be funded by the residential part of the scheme,” he said.

The plans - which include £2.4m of leisure facilities aimed at families with young children, including a wide range of playparks, picnic areas, water jets and a small performance area - are to be decided by the south area development control sub committee next month.

Do you like the new proposals for the south seafront? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

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