Bikers' boycott threat

ANGRY bikers today warned that they will boycott Felixstowe this summer unless they are made more welcome.They blockaded the revamped car park on Pier Bight in protest at seafront parking for bikes being slashed as part of the £37,000 facelift for the area.

ANGRY bikers today warned that they will boycott Felixstowe this summer unless they are made more welcome.

They blockaded the revamped car park on Pier Bight in protest at seafront parking for bikes being slashed as part of the £37,000 facelift for the area.

But tourism chiefs denied the resort was unfriendly to motorcyclists - and said they were glad the bikers cared enough to make their views known.

More than 50 bikers came from all over Suffolk and Essex early yesterday and parked in virtually every space on the car park in front of the pier - preventing cars from using the area.

Protest leader Dave Barker, of the Motorcycle Action Group, said the aim was to show how seriously the bikers, who have been visiting the resort in their thousands over the past few summers, felt about the loss of their parking.

"Unless this issue is resolved a lot of bikers will not come to Felixstowe this summer - and will take their trade to other places instead," he said.

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"Traders have made bikers very welcome in the past and Felixstowe is a great place to come and meet up. But the council seems intent on driving us away.

"It is absolutely ridiculous and a lot of bikers are very angry about it. We cannot understand why the car park could not have been left as it was. We were not even consulted about the changes."

Previously Pier Bight had a set-aside area for bikes equivalent to four car parking spaces next to the sea wall, providing enough space for around 25 bikes.

But now there are only three spaces - not a block together, but single spaces dotted around the car parking between spaces for cars.

"Felixstowe has been attracting growing numbers of bikers and I have seen 30 to 40 gathering on the car park outside the leisure centre because they know there is a designated parking place there," said Mr Barker, of King Street, Walton.

"Three single spaces do not hold anywhere near as many bikes - if a biker parks slap bang in the middle of each one they only hold three bikes in total.

"And people may well park in the middle because they will be afraid of parking near the edge if a car comes alongside in case their bike is knocked over by a car door or causes problems."

Resort co-ordinator Michelle Barr said more spaces had been provided for motorcyclists in the Convalescent Hill car park, also in Undercliff Road West.

"It's great to see so many motorcyclists here and to know they want to come to Felixstowe - we would be more worried if they didn't want to come," she said.

"At least this way we know they are interested and it gives us a chance to keep talking to them and working with them on this issue."

The signs in the car park did not prevent bikes from being parked in car spaces.

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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