‘Bold vision’ for resort could bring new state-of-the-art leisure complex

Land on the north of Felixstowe between Gulpher Road and the edge of the town is facing an uncertain

Land on the north of Felixstowe between Gulpher Road and the edge of the town is facing an uncertain future. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

A bold masterplan has been drawn up for more than 100 acres of land on the edge of Felixstowe – to provide the resort with homes, jobs, a new school, and state-of-the art sports and leisure facilities.

Felixstowe Leisure Centre's site could be redeveloped if new facilities are built on the edge of the

Felixstowe Leisure Centre's site could be redeveloped if new facilities are built on the edge of the resort - Credit: Archant

Talks are already taking place with landowners on the potential project, which is being put forward by Suffolk Coastal District Council.

The council’s vision is to continue the current revitalisation of the resort by using farmland in the ownership of Trinity College, Cambridge, the Adams and Stennett families, and its own little-used Eastward Ho sports pitches – a site stretching from the A14 dock spur roundabout to Ferry Road, Old Felixstowe – for a new “gateway” for the town.

It would mean demolition of the resort’s current leisure centre and Brackenbury Sports Centre to allow for the creation of the new sports complex, which council chiefs believe could be used by people as far away as Purdis Farm and Kesgrave as well as Felixstowe, up to half the district’s population.

It could include such facilities as swimming pools, health facilities, sauna, gym, high diving complex, climbing walls, restaurant, indoor bowls, mini cinema, sports pitches and more.

North Felixstowe is currently mostly peaceful farmland

North Felixstowe is currently mostly peaceful farmland - Credit: Archant

Part of the land already has permission for more than 550 homes, 60-bed care home and business premises, and all this will be put back into the melting pot to replan the area.

Suffolk Coastal said the main driver for its Felixstowe Leisure Vision was to explore the future opportunities to provide cutting-edge, modern and enhanced sports and leisure facilities to benefit Felixstowe and help grow wider economy.

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Geoff Holdcroft, deputy council leader and cabinet member for economic development, said: “The Felixstowe Leisure Vision document demonstrates the potential for a multi-million pound sports and leisure development and highlights the opportunity to continue with the current re-vitalisation of Felixstowe.

“However, this is just the start of a long conversation with local people about what they want and how we maximise the potential of this area.

Councillor Geoff Holdcroft

Councillor Geoff Holdcroft - Credit: Archant

“There is already a major development planned for the area and other landowners have been actively promoting their land for possible development. So, rather than having a patchwork of ad hoc developments, Suffolk Coastal decided to be proactive in pulling together all the various strands of possible development, including that relating to our land, to create a bold vision for north Felixstowe.

“Suffolk Coastal has already invested millions of pounds in revitalising Felixstowe. We believe it is vital that we continue to build on this investment to create developments that benefit local people and visitors to the area.

“One of the attractions of this approach is that it offers great potential to deliver the necessary infrastructure and major benefits to current and future residents of the Felixstowe peninsula.”

“The masterplan contains an overview of what could happen with this area, including future state-of-the-art leisure facilities, much-needed extra homes for young people and new jobs.”

“We accept this is a bold vision for the future but the ideas contained within the document have been submitted as part of a wider consultation process and there is a long way to go before anything becomes a reality.”

The council’s submission, which was been prepared by planning consultants Strutt & Parker and urban designers at LDA Design, will now be considered by the Local Plan Working Group.

There will also be on-going engagement with communities, local landowners, Felixstowe Town Council and other stakeholders.

The Issues and Options Consultation process is led by Suffolk Coastal as the Local Planning Authority. The next step in the process will be that there will be another round of consultation, once the council has developed its ‘Preferred Options’ for sites to be included in the Local Plan. This will be published during summer 2018.

All responses to the Issues and Options consultation can be found at: http://consult.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/consult.ti/Issuesandoptions2017/viewCompoundDoc?docid=9052404&partid=9073300#9073300