Felixstowe: New Landguard visitor centre could be in place by next spring

HOPES are high today that a visitor centre will be in place at Landguard by next spring – with two companies keen on running the restaurant and exhibition hall.

If a lease agreement fails, it could delay the project, already a year behind schedule, by another 12 months.

But officials at Suffolk Coastal say they are confident a lease can be signed soon and then speedy progress made on getting the centre, key to the development of Landguard as a major tourist attraction, delivered.

The peninsula includes Landguard Fort, Felixstowe Museum, a nature reserve, bird observatory, and the port viewing area, and attracts more than 700,000 visitors a year.

The Landguard Partnership wants the visitor centre to provide a focal point for those arriving to find out what there is to do at the different attractions.

It will also feature much-needed toilets, an exhibition hall, and a top quality 58-seat restaurant with panoramic view of Harwich Harbour.

A report to the council cabinet on Tuesday says two local businesses are interested in running the centre and its restaurant.

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“Potential operators have now been invited to submit offers, based on the council’s draft heads of terms for the sub-lease, by July 11. Following evaluation, the result of the submissions should be known by July 20,” said the report.

The visitor centre will only be temporary and is due to be replaced with a new �1 million one by the end of 2018 when the Port of Felixstowe is due to complete the final phase of its redevelopment of the southern end of the container terminal.

Hutchison Ports are paying for the centre as part of the community benefits in the legal agreements for the port extension.