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Advice sought on the future of tower

PUBLISHED: 10:02 23 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:46 03 March 2010

UP to £30,000 is to be spent on expert advice to decide if one of Suffolk's martello towers could be turned into a tourist attraction.

The Martello tower built between 1808-11 at the southern end of Felixstowe is used by Coast Watch, a voluntary organisation providing a safety role for activities on the beach and sea.

UP to £30,000 is to be spent on expert advice to decide if one of Suffolk's martello towers could be turned into a tourist attraction.

The Martello tower built between 1808-11 at the southern end of Felixstowe is used by Coast Watch, a voluntary organisation providing a safety role for activities on the beach and sea.

The tower is positioned on wasteland earmarked by Suffolk Coastal District Council for a 17-acre development including 189 homes, an amphitheatre, children's play areas, beach café, cycle route, sculptures, 230 parking spaces and a restaurant-bar.

The council's cabinet has decided to increase the amount available for technical advice about the tower's future from £25,000 to £30,000. It will also put aside £35,000 to encourage funding from a European scheme to develop the tower and a nearby Cold War bunker. Possible future uses include a museum.

The decision is among several taken by the council relating to the coastline between Felixstowe and Shingle Street where more than £2.5m could be spent on strengthening sea defences.

Applications for funding would be made to the Environment Agency, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the county council for improved protection in southern Felixstowe and between Bawdsey and Shingle Street.

Urgent discussions will now take place with the Environment Agency about the replacement of groynes between Orford Road and Landguard Common.

There is a long-term fear about the future of properties in the Bawdsey area and £1.1m could be spent on protecting Bawdsey Manor, a former RAF station now used as a school, against erosion.

Bawdsey Parish Council has expressed concern at last winter's cliff erosion near a Martello Tower at East Lane and engineers say there is an ''increasing risk'' that the current sea defences will fail.

Suffolk Coastal has agreed to ask Defra for aid at East Lane. Providing rock to protect the cliff for about 500 metres and replacing other defences would cost £1.5m.

However, the district council's coast protection responsibility would mean it only needs to fund £100,000. The owners of the tower and nearby properties will be asked if they want to contribute.


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