Children hunted for Felixstowe arson

A GROUP of children are today being hunted by police after an arson attack on one of Felixstowe's most prominent seafront buildings.Fire-raisers set light to the Herman de Stern in Orford Road and police say children as young as seven were seen running from the disused building.

A GROUP of children are today being hunted by police after an arson attack on one of Felixstowe's most prominent seafront buildings.

Fire-raisers set light to the Herman de Stern in Orford Road and police say children as young as seven were seen running from the disused building.

The blaze was spotted by police on patrol in the area who saw smoke coming from the first floor and alerted the fire service.

Felixstowe fire crews quickly put out the fire which happened at around 3pm on Tuesday but it caused damage inside the century-old former convalescent home and community centre.


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Police would like to trace three boys and a girl who were seen near the building earlier in the day, and a girl and boy seen running from the property into Sea Road about 1.45pm.

The girl is described as being in her early to mid teens, of thin build, with tied up mousy coloured hair, and wearing a short coat with fur around the hood.

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The boy is described as around seven-years-old, and was wearing a dark hooded top and jeans.

Police would like to trace these young people and are urging them to come forward. Anyone with information or who saw children around the building on Tuesday is asked to Felixstowe police on 01473 613500.

Earlier this week a campaign was launched to save the massive Victorian building from the bulldozers and turn it in to a small theatre.

A growing group of individuals and business owners has banded together with an interest in restoring it to create a community project.

Businessman Trevor Lockwood, who is leading the campaign group, said: "Our plan is to create a small theatre, a mixture of meeting and rehearsal rooms and a cafeteria and shop.

"I'd like to hear from any group, indeed anyone, who may be interested in using such a social centre.

"We want the town to have modern facilities that can be hired at a reasonable price and know that such a centre will generate a sense of community."

Suffolk Coastal council plans to knock down the Herman de Stern as part of the development of the 17-acre south seafront. It says it is not practical to refurbish it and such renovation would be uneconomical because of the £40,000 cost of removing asbestos and £500,000 cost of conversion.

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

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