Felixstowe: Pier project delayed as it suffers costs setback

Proposed new Felixstowe pier.

Proposed new Felixstowe pier. - Credit: Archant

Multi-million pound proposals for a new pier at Felixstowe have suffered a setback – because of the costs of the marine works.

Pier owner Stan Threadwell, who is securing private funding for the development, is now looking at a phased project and hopes to start work before the end of next year.

Pier Amusements Ltd wants to demolish the current pier sticking out over the sea and replace it with a new two-storey seaside entertainment complex, part of which would go out over the waves.

The new pier would be shorter but feature a function suite seating 325 people, cafes, restaurants, bowling facility, leisure attractions and a high-tech observation deck to watch the shipping.

Separate plans also propose major alterations to the prom alongside, the front of the leisure centre known as Pier Bight, and the derelict yacht pond area at the rear of the centre.

The height of the prom would have to be raised in order to provide all-year-round access from Pier Bight to the new pier.

Andrew Green, operations director for Pier Amusements Felixstowe Ltd, said: “Our endeavours in bringing this redevelopment to a successful completion have unfortunately been delayed once again as we are struggling to get competitive pricing for the complete project, in particular the marine works.

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“Our architects and consultants are now in the process of reviewing the scheme to produce a phased project, stil incorporating the original design aspects and features, to bring this exciting development to fruition.

“Our vision and aim is still to serve the local community with a privately-funded, bespoke and visually-pleasing attraction we can all be proud of and to provide a specific, vibrant and unique experience that is sensitive to its location and setting, but at the same time also securing the long term future of the pier and its important contribution to Felixstowe as a seaside resort.

“Once plans are finalised they will be presented to Suffolk Coastal District Council planning for approval and following on from this we anticipate a start date before the end of 2015.”

It had been hoped the pier – one of the key projects for the regeneration of the resort – would be open by now.

The project is a substantial investment and a catalyst for the regeneration of the resort’s Pier Bight area, bringing more visitors and extra trade, and encouraging other businesses and attractions to upgrade their facilities.

The go-ahead was given by district councillors in 2012 and early indications were that dismantling the current pier would start within months.

However, there have been protracted negotiations over a lease for part of the seabed from the Crown Estates, as the new pier would be wider and cover an area of seabed not owned by the pier owners, and also with the Environment Agency over the changes to the sea wall and the prom.

Councillors were told the scheme would create 48 full-time jobs – an extra 36 compared – and three extra part-time posts.

The current pier has been a landmark of the town for more than 100 years but public access to the part over the sea has been closed for 15 years for health and safety reasons due to its condition.