Brighter future for South Seafront

HOPES of a £20 million-plus redevelopment of a derelict seafront site are brighter today because objections to the scheme are being overcome.Council leaders are confident new proposals for Felixstowe's 17-acre south seafront – due to be unveiled later this month – will secure planning permission as the reasons for refusal of a previous scheme a year ago are being solved.

HOPES of a £20 million-plus redevelopment of a derelict seafront site are brighter today because objections to the scheme are being overcome.

Council leaders are confident new proposals for Felixstowe's 17-acre south seafront - due to be unveiled later this month - will secure planning permission as the reasons for refusal of a previous scheme a year ago are being solved.

However, there are still likely to be many objections from residents over the scheme, especially those who want a low-key doorstep green created instead.

One of the main concerns 12 months ago was the impact on the Martello Tower which stands at the centre of the site and which council policy says must be the focal point of the tourism and housing project.

It was felt the housing and leisure development was planned to close to the tower, ruining its setting.

Criticism was also levelled at Suffolk Coastal council for not securing cash for the refurbishment and re-use of the monument.

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However, councillors masterminding the project say money would be put into repair of the tower in the new scheme.

A traffic impact assessment for the Beach Station Road area, which it was feared would not be able to cope with so much more traffic, is now under review by specialist consultants.

Task group chairman Peter Bellfield said councillors felt the new proposals had addressed the reasons for the previous planning refusal in a very positive manner and the scheme was now excellent.

"The housing structure is less dominating, it is basically one storey less high and I think it is fair to say that there is more play equipment, rather than open spaces," he said.

The group says the empty Herman de Stern building should be demolished. In the previous scheme there were plans for a pub and restaurant on the site.

The building is riddled with asbestos and it would cost more than £2million to convert it into a theatre due to the age and structure of the building.

Mr Bellfield said: "There are one or two people who are devoted to that building but it has no practical use. There was no way that the committee could see that it was a viable proposition to convert it."

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