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Dampeners put on seafront site

PUBLISHED: 00:57 29 January 2004 | UPDATED: 14:51 03 March 2010

HERITAGE chiefs have today thrown a spanner in the works of Felixstowe seafront's multi-million pound redevelopment.

It is believed English Heritage, guardian of the country's monuments, is insisting the site's historic Martello Tower be refurbished and brought into public use.

HERITAGE chiefs have today thrown a spanner in the works of Felixstowe seafront's multi-million pound redevelopment.

It is believed English Heritage, guardian of the country's monuments, is insisting the site's historic Martello Tower be refurbished and brought into public use.

Bizarrely, councillors had not intended to revamp the Napoleonic tower as part of the venture, leaving new expensive housing overlooking an eyesore.

Even more strange is the fact that Suffolk Coastal has not insisted that partners Bloor Homes renovate the monument as a tourist attraction as part of the deal.

Instead, they are giving six acres of land to Bloor for more than 200 homes in exchange for little more than play areas and gardens.

Councillors said the scheme for the 17-acre south seafront site would receive permission in January last year, but plans are still awaited12 months on.

Opponents of the scheme are demanding to see a consultants' report into the scheme.

Liberal Democrat Mike Ninnmey said: "We paid £25,000 for a consultants' report that councillors have not been allowed to see, and other reports have also been written which have been withheld.

"Members of the task group for this project should at least be able to see them."

It seems certain English Heritage concerns about the fate of the Martello Tower and a nearby Cold War bunker are the cause of the delay.

Andy Smith, Suffolk Coastal cabinet spokesman for the project, said it had been hoped to have a task group meeting in January.

He said: "I felt more work needed to be done on all of these reports and a third report created before the task group should discuss the solutions put forward."

Mr Smith confirmed the Martello Tower was the sticking point and said he hoped a meeting could be arranged soon.

He also sympathised with the frustration of others involved.

The current plan is to use the land for homes, gardens, an ampitheatre, wooden galleon, café/restaurant and car parks.

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


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