Felixstowe 'heaving' as new pierhead brings extra visitors to coast
PUBLISHED: 15:13 02 August 2017
A resort's new pier building is giving its economy a summer season boost - attracting thousands of extra visitors to enjoy a day at the seaside.
The opening of the pierhead at Felixstowe is the latest in a series of new facilities designed to improve the town, and woo residents, daytrippers and holidaymakers.
Pier owner Stan Threadwell opened the doors of the rebuilt pier at the weekend and has already seen thousands flock to see the changes – which include a new family entertainments centre with bowling and state-of-the-art arcade machines, bar and restaurant with al fresco dining, and wraparound boardwalk for promenading around the building over the beach and sea – in the first few days.
Helen Greengrass, Felixstowe Forward change director, said the initial opening had been a huge success for the town.
She said: “It’s been heaving over the past few days and has been a really successful opening. It looks like being a big attraction for the rest of the school holidays.
“The feedback we have heard is that it has been really well received. People are delighted to see it open and they really like it and think it’s a great landmark.
“They are looking forward, too, to seeing the compound area (in front of the leisure centre) cleared and completed as a new space for people to meet and hang out together.”
The pier owners decided the opening of the pierhead would be a “soft opening” to allow people to use it during the peak summer season, and are understood to be planning an official opening for the project, understood to cost around £3million, for September when all the work is complete.
In the past couple of years the resort has seen the completion of a £4.8million restoration of its nationally-acclaimed seafront gardens, the creation of the new Martello Park, construction of the outdoor Beachside Arena, and reopening of the Spa Pavilion theatre.
There are other projects in the pipeline, too, with work having started to renovate the Victorian shelters, hopes high that a developer will be found for the old North Sea Hotel, and ideas being considered for a future use of the Martello Tower on the south seafront.
Events such as the carnival, open-air cinema and Armed Forces Weekend have also brought extra visitors.