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Coast guards look out promise

PUBLISHED: 20:06 30 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 March 2010

VOLUNTEERS who may be evicted from their emergency look-out point over the sea were today assured they would be provided with a new and better one.

Council leaders say no final decisions have been made, but stressed they are committed to keeping Coastwatch as part of Felixstowe's network of rescue services and if the group has to move, an alternative site will be created.

VOLUNTEERS who may be evicted from their emergency look-out point over the sea were today assured they would be provided with a new and better one.

Council leaders say no final decisions have been made, but stressed they are committed to keeping Coastwatch as part of Felixstowe's network of rescue services and if the group has to move, an alternative site will be created.

Coastwatch's fears have arisen because it is hoped to turn its headquarters, Martello Tower P, into a tourist attraction.

But David Smith, chairman of the south seafront project group, said: "The Conservative administration at Suffolk Coastal remains fully committed to the continued presence of Coastwatch as part of the final plans for the south seafront development. We have never said otherwise.

"We have stated that Coastwatch will retain a location for their lookout station, either the existing one on the Martello Tower, or an alternative which is equal or better for their purpose," Mr Smith added.

"The plan to date has been that this would be by Coastwatch remaining on the tower.  

"But in discussions with English Heritage about the best options for the tower, it's become clear that other options may need to be looked at.  

"It may well be that the existing location can be kept, but any alternative would clearly result in them having new, and almost certainly better facilities," Mr Smith said.

English Heritage has told council officials it expects the Napoleonic tower, which sits in the centre of the development site and also has a nationally-important Cold war bunker, to be restored and open for visitors.

Councillors have agreed to allocate £35,000 towards the renovation work at the tower – the full cost is not known and it is hoped Euro cash from the Holding the Fort project will be received – and £25,000 for specialist technical advice.

Suffolk Coastal's chosen developers Bloor Homes are preparing a planning application for the south seafront which will include 175 homes, café, upmarket pub-restaurant, car parking, gardens, wooden galleon and an ampitheatre.

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

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