Felixstowe: Seafront gardens renovation is now 15 months behind schedule
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Community leaders hope work will restart on the £2.76million refurbishment of Felixstowe’s seafront gardens this autumn – and be completed around 15 months after the project was due to have had its official opening.
Work on the Heritage Lottery Fund-backed restoration was halted just a few months into the scheme last summer due to a dispute between Suffolk Coastal District Council and the contractors, P Casey (Land Reclamation) Ltd.
The council eventually terminated the contract, claiming the company was in breach of contract.
However, it later emerged, after an independent adjudication into the dispute, that the council was at fault – with the report saying the authority was in breach of contract and was not entitled to cancel the work.
The council could now be sued for damages.
Over the past three months, Suffolk Coastal has been working to appoint a new contractor to complete the prestigious project.
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Members of the cabinet were told this week that there is still some way to go to complete the full procurement process but, when this is concluded, the restoration could restart in the autumn.
The process has been extended to provide bidders with further clarification in respect of certain aspects of the design.
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The Heritage Lottery Fund is being kept fully informed of the current developments.
TJ Haworth-Culf, Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member for customers, communities and leisure, said: “Our focus remains to ensure that the Seafront Gardens Project is completed for the benefit of local people and visitors alike.
“The meetings with the prospective contractors were very positive, with companies showing a genuine interest in completing the works.
“I am optimistic that we are now well on the way towards selecting and appointing a new contractor to complete the renovation work and get the gardens reopened by the middle of next year.
“The gardens sit at the heart of Felixstowe’s seafront and, once the renovation work is completed, they will form the natural centrepiece to a number of developments and improvements we are working on in Felixstowe.”
The project aims to restore the resort’s listed Victorian and Edwardian seafront gardens to their former glory, including shelters, water features, paths and planting, along with the inclusion of new 21st Century features like a modern clifftop shelter, heritage trail and interpretation boards.