Cash boost to safeguard Felixstowe

PORT chiefs have agreed to give £400,000 to safeguard over the next decade a site visited by thousands of birds and tourists, it was revealed today.


Felixstowe editor>

PORT chiefs have agreed to give £400,000 to safeguard over the next decade a site visited by thousands of birds and tourists, it was revealed today.

The grant for the management and improvement of the Landguard peninsula at Felixstowe is also set to be "topped up" with an extra £50,000 from Suffolk Coastal council.

It heralds a bright future for the 114-acre mainly shingle spit, sandwiched between the kaleidoscope of colourful stacked containers at the boxport and the grey North Sea, though one of great change.

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The money from the port will be part of a package of measures for the peninsula if it gets the go-ahead for its £242m expansion project next to the area.

The package will also include a visitor centre, new foot ferry berth, improved sea defences in front of Landguard Fort, coach and car parking, new shipping viewing area, and changes to the approach road, Viewpoint Road.

In a report to the council's cabinet, which meets on December 7, Maggy Wilson, member for community well-being, recommends that the council gives £10,000 a year for five years to add to the £40,000 per year from Hutchison Ports UK.

"The additional funding proposed by the Port of Felixstowe is regarded as being essential in helping to meet the costs of the new commitments arising from the provision of the new facilities and managing the impacts of the anticipated increase in visitor numbers," she said.

"It is envisaged that the funding for the long-term management of the peninsula, that is beyond the ten-year period of funding support provided by the Port of Felixstowe, will be achieved largely through a combination of generating income through the Visitor Centre and car parking charges."

Details of this would be addressed through a new Landguard Strategy to be drawn up by the partnership of bodies managing the peninsula.

These are the port, town, county and district councils, English Heritage, English Nature, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Landguard Conservation Trust, Harwich Haven Authority and Felixstowe History and Museum Society.

The peninsula is visited by around 700,000 people each year to watch the shipping, walk on the nature reserve and visit the fort and ornithology centre.

Some 77 acres is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and it is recognised as an internationally important stopover and breeding site for migrating birds, and is home to many rare plants, butterflies and one-third of all known British grasses.

In recent years English Heritage has invested some £1.3 million in the refurbishment of the fort and its outlying batteries.

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