Felixstowe: Charity working to seal deal for new �1m animal centre

FELIXSTOWE: Final preparations are being made for a planning application which will seal the deal for a new �1 million-plus home for Felixstowe’s treasured Blue Cross centre.

The charity is hoping to be able to submit the application to Suffolk Coastal council early in the new year and has had initial talks with the authority’s officers and also parish councillors in the Foxhall area.

The Blue Cross is negotiating to buy the former BT and civil service sports and social club, The Hollies, in Straight Road, and two acres of land, generating the money to purchase the premises from fundraising and selling its centre in Walton High Street, Felixstowe, for a housing development.

But the project – which will be four times larger than the current centre – will not be able to go ahead unless the charity secures planning permission for change of use.

Centre manager Andrew Gillon said: “We are confident the site is suitable and the response from planning officials has been positive.

“There are no houses directly joining the site and the nearest ones are quite a distance away.

“We have spoken to parish councillors to explain what we want to do, though there may well be people with concerns, particularly over possible noise.

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“The new kennels though will use the very latest technology and as well as being bigger and very comfortable for the animals, they are soundproofed to remove noise, so we don’t believe it will be a problem.”

Adjoining landowners had been very supportive, and the charity had a good relationship with the Trinity Park management.

Mr Gillon said the aim was to finalise the plans and submit the application early in the new year.

Once approval was granted, the purchase from landowner CSSC could proceed.

The project for The Hollies includes 25 per cent more dog kennels and cat pens, the ability to keep new admissions separate from animals waiting for new homes, an isolation suite for unwell animals, a puppy and kitten facility, and exercise areas, clinics and an on-site vet.

? What do you think of the project? Write to Your Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk