Bid to save site from bulldozers
DEVELOPERS are being asked to consider turning an historic and much-loved seafront building into an education, conference and arts centre.Residents have put forward the idea in the hope that the Herman de Stern at Felixstowe can be saved from the bulldozers.
By Richard Cornwell
DEVELOPERS are being asked to consider turning an historic and much-loved seafront building into an education, conference and arts centre.
Residents have put forward the idea in the hope that the Herman de Stern at Felixstowe can be saved from the bulldozers.
Representatives of the West End of Felixstowe Residents' Association (WEFRA) met with Suffolk Coastal officials and the company chosen to regenerate the resort's south seafront with the council to discuss the proposal.
Now people in the area are being asked what they think and for other views and ideas before another meeting is held with the council.
WEFRA chairman Doreen Rayner said it was vitally important that residents attend the association's meeting on Thursday at 7.30pm at the Marlborough Hotel, in Sea Road, Felixstowe.
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"WEFRA committee members and some residents would like to see the building used as an education, conference and arts centre – or even converted into prestigious apartments – rather than demolished to make way for another restaurant or pub," said Mrs Rayner.
"We know just how easily licences for pubs can be extended upon application to Suffolk Coastal, and one on the Herman de Stern site will be just one step away from another night club and two steps away from a possible casino-style arcade.
"The council has intimated that WEFRA will be invited to attend discussions on the plans for south seafront and so the March 14 meeting is important for I would like to attend meetings with the council armed with the views and concerns of the membership and other interested residents.
"So I hope that anyone with something to say on the subject will attend."
Mrs Rayner plans to show photographs of the interior of the Herman de Stern at the meeting and outline some ideas for its possible conversion.
Suffolk Coastal has chosen Bloor Homes to work in partnership to develop the 17-acre south seafront as a major tourist attraction with homes to pay for the leisure facilities. Draft plans are currently being prepared to show to the public.
The council has said that it has no further use for the Victorian Herman de Stern – built as a convalescent home and given to the town by Baroness de Stern in memory of her husband, and more recently used as a theatre – and its fate will be up to the developer.
Council officials have said the building is too costly to save. Around £40,000 would need to be spent to remove dangerous asbestos and it would cost at least £500,000 to convert it to community or arts uses.