Felixstowe: Community fund to be used to save resort’s seafront attractions

A NEW “community fund” is today set to be used for the first time to save two of Felixstowe’s under-threat traditional seaside attractions.

In the past two years, town councillors have increased the council tax precept to bring in �69,000 so they could be ready to respond when treasured and vital services were put at risk by other authority’s cost-cutting.

Now their forward-thinking has paid off and they are in the perfect position to take over two of the resort’s best-loved attractions – the floral displays along the seafront and the decorative lighting on the prom.

Suffolk Coastal has decided to withdraw funding for the planting, and is expected soon to axe the cash for the coloured lights, both popular features for daytrippers and holidaymakers.

Town councillors are being recommended to use some of the cash to pay for bedding plants each year from 2013, and for the lighting when funding is eventually withdrawn. A final decision will be made on December 5.

Councillor Chris Slemmings said negotiations between the town council and Suffolk Coastal Services had been positive and “really quite encouraging” to help reach agreement over costs and a future planting regime.

The town council will pay more than �10,000 a year towards the gardens – mainly those alongside the prom and planters at the Town Hall.

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It was decided not to pay for the leisure centre bed as this area is set for major changes or the Spa Pavilion approach road gardens, as these ought to be part of the lottery-backed scheme, or the chalet area as these gardens were marked as private.

Councillor Andy Smith said it was important for the town to look attractive for visitors and residents.

He said the funding for the lights had not been withdrawn yet but was growing likely and this would cost the council up to �14,600 a year. There would be the opportunity to consider savings in future including whether to reduce the hours they are on.

Councillor Doreen Savage said: “Without the decorative lighting, Felixstowe would not look anything like as attractive – it is a key area of our presentation of Felixstowe as a resort.”