Blue Cross bosses appeal over land for animal shelter

FELIXSTOWE: Bosses at the Blue Cross are to lodge an appeal over the county council’s refusal to sell a piece of land needed to safeguard the future of the animal rescue centre.

Supporters of the shelter, in Walton High Street, Felixstowe, were left reeling after the council declined to negotiate over the site at the rear of the property.

Blue Cross officials agreed to keep the treasured centre open after a massive “save it” campaign spearheaded by the Evening Star, with 14,000 people signing a petition protesting at the closure threat and hundreds taking part in marches and rallies.

But officials said a �1million expansion and refurbishment project would be needed, and it was vital that more land was secured for a dog exercise area.

The council said it was unable to sell the land at present because of the uncertainty over the plans for a new �32million academy at the resort. The site is part of the area earmarked for the new school, although that area of land probably won’t be needed.

Until the government decides if Felixstowe’s academy in the Building Schools for the Future programme will continue, no sale can be considered.

Tom Crowley, chairman of the Complete the Dream fundraising campaign to raise the �1m needed for the centre’s refurbishment, said campaigners had not given up over the land.

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“The Blue Cross is to lodge an appeal over the refusal to sell the land and we will see what happens,” said Mr Crowley.

“We can understand the uncertainty concerning the school plans and hopefully this will be resolved quickly.

“It is quite a small area of land and it is right at the back of the centre so it probably wouldn’t form part of the school anyway.”

Because the land is so vital the charity has delayed an official launch of the Complete the Dream appeal until the situation is clearer.

Campaigners have been “hugely disappointed” at the setback as it’s the only way the shelter can stay on this site and provide the facilities desperately needed for the animals in its care, and if it cannot be bought, a new site may have to be found.

n Should the council release the land? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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