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Felixstowe: Resort would love to see pier transformed into a mega-attraction

PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 October 2011

Flashback . . . Russell Clarke with his model of the futuristic Felixstowe Pier Sea Dome with pier trustees James Threadwell, Malcolm Minns and Norman Thompson, secretary of the Pier Trust.

Flashback . . . Russell Clarke with his model of the futuristic Felixstowe Pier Sea Dome with pier trustees James Threadwell, Malcolm Minns and Norman Thompson, secretary of the Pier Trust.

Archant

BRING back the pier!

That’s the view today of a growing number of people in Felixstowe who believe an exciting major attraction is desperately needed to regenerate the resort.

Tourist and business leaders feel a unique focal point would really give the town something to shout about – drawing visitors from a bigger area to give its economy a huge shot in the arm.

Rebuilding the resort’s pier for all ages to enjoy is top of many people’s wish-lists, though a scheme would cost millions and funding streams would need to be investigated and identified.

Chamber of trade chairman Andrew Rowdon said: “I think Felixstowe has tons to offer but people love piers and if we could get ours developed it would be phenomenal for the town.”

"What Felixstowe needs is a mega-attraction, and the pier could provide that if it was developed with a unique and exciting project."

Norman Thompson, former secretary of pier trust

Norman Thompson, former secretary of the Felixstowe Pier Trust, said: “What Felixstowe needs is a mega-attraction, and the pier could provide that if it was developed with a unique and exciting project.”

A survey by the National Piers Society has revealed that Felixstowe’s pier is one of the top ten most at risk in the country, in danger of collapse or demolition.

But to transform the landmark into a major tourist attraction, it would have to be demolished anyway.

“People really do need to understand the current state of the pier. Once you get past the first few yards, it is out of bounds to the public and has been condemned as unsafe by health and safety experts,” said Mr Thompson.

“People talk about creating a Southwold-style pier and probably imagine you could just put a few new planks down.

“But any project – whether it is small or major – will mean completely rebuilding the pier and that will cost many millions of pounds.

“Just building a promenading pier would be a waste of time because it would never generate the money to pay for the work – Felixstowe needs a big project as a focal point.”

A previous scheme put together by the pier trust envisaged a Sea Dome with five decks, including the world’s biggest revolving restaurant, shipping viewing area, ten-pin bowling, bars, casino, heritage centre and conference suite, to draw 200,000 people a year.


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