Fate to be sealed of wrecked landmark

ONE of Felixstowe's best-known seafront landmarks is set to have its fate sealed this week - with moves to demolish it likely to get the go-ahead.Despite campaigners' wishes to save the fire-ravaged Herman de Stern centre, councillors are being recommended to agree to send in the bulldozers.

ONE of Felixstowe's best-known seafront landmarks is set to have its fate sealed this week - with moves to demolish it likely to get the go-ahead.

Despite campaigners' wishes to save the fire-ravaged Herman de Stern centre, councillors are being recommended to agree to send in the bulldozers.

Even though the possibility of a £940,000 insurance pay-out to rebuild it has not been settled, officers say keeping it now it is substantially “may not be feasible”.

But even if it was rebuilt to its former condition, they say the council has no further use for the former convalescent home and theatre, it would not look good next to the new south seafront development, and its removal would improve the entrance to the new public park.


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On top of this, estimated conversion to an arts use would cost a minimum £550,000, removal of asbestos £40,000, and no-one has come forward with any proposed leisure uses for it.

Its site has the potential for a future use for a café, restaurant or bar, says a report to be considered by Suffolk Coastal's south area development control sub committee on Thursday.

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Campaigner and councillor Mike Ninnmey said: “It looks bleak but we refuse to give up.

“We will be attending the meeting to make our views known and plead for extra time to look at what we could do with the Herman de Stern.

“As yet we have had no satisfactory answers about the insurance - we don't know if the policy was a pay-out for rebuild only, or the state of the negotiations between the council and loss adjustor or how much we might get because the council will not tell us.

“They say the information is confidential and a letter we had from one officer felt it was not in the public interest that the £940,000 figure had been given out at all.”

Suffolk Preservation Society has employed an expert to assess the state of the building but been refused access because it is too dangerous to visit. It will take legal advice if approval for demolition is given.

Nine children - five of them girls - have been arrested on suspicion of causing the fire at the Herman de Stern. The youngsters aged between 11 and 17 were questioned and released on bail.

Do you think the Herman de Stern should be demolished? Do you think it should be rebuilt? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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