Daytripper town has little need for more hotel beds

The Marlborough Hotel, Felixstowe.

The Marlborough Hotel, Felixstowe. - Credit: Archant

According to the experts, Felixstowe needs a new modern, family-friendly hotel.

But when you cast you eye around the resort, you really do have to wonder why.

Two of our largest seafront hotels – the Waverley, at the top of Bent Hill, and the Marlborough, in Sea Road – are both preparing for major conversions to apartments that will see 47 beds lost.

Both cite the same reason for being unviable: lack of people staying in the town.

Today’s Felixstowe no longer has the attractions to bring holidaymakers, and those that still do take a week-long bucket-and-spade on-the-beach holiday with the children in the UK are far more likely to visit the bigger resorts with fancy indoor amenities for rainy days.

Our town is a daytripper resort and a good base for stopping a few days to enjoy what it has to offer – Landguard, some nice walks, round of golf, and a peaceful setting – while visiting other parts of Suffolk close by.

There is still a range of accommodation – from top of the scale places such as The Fludyer Arms and the Orwell Hotel to those catering for different clients in guest houses, and some mid-price places in between.

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But why we are so often told we need a new hotel is a mystery when there are so many spare beds all year round.

Proposals for a budget hotel on the edge of town fell through and the Walton Green Partnership dropped the idea from its plans, so it is unlikely one would prove profitable.

? I was deeply saddened at the death of my favourite writer, Iain Banks.

Witty, always surprising, and a wonderful storyteller, one of the great joys of life was the anticipation when a new Banks novel was announced.

But for the dreaded cancer which robbed this talented man of his life, readers would have had many more to look forward to for years to come.

Iain was an exceptional writer and much admired.

As author Neil Gaiman wrote in the Guardian: “If you’ve never read any of his books, read one of his books. Then read another. Even the bad ones were good, and the good ones were astonishing.”

Try Complicity, Crow Road, Stonemouth, for starters.

? Just as the debate started on the radio about increasing fines for drivers using mobile phones, we passed three lorries – one trucker had a phone glued to his ear; the other two were texting.

Now I’m not having a go at our hardworking lorry drivers, on another day it could easily have been three car drivers we passed using phones, but it simply showed how many people feel at ease using phones while driving.

Clearly any use of a telephone – except hands-free – while on the road is dangerous. I am sure it would be equally hazardous if I sat typing into my laptop on my knee while hurtling along at 60 or 70mph.

Raising the fine from £60 to £100 is pathetic and is never going to stop this behaviour.

It should be set at £1,000 mandatory to deter.

It’s all a bit pointless though, because without more police officers on the roads, the problem will not be tackled effectively in any case.