Historic seaside shelter wrecked by arsonists to be repaired
- Credit: RICHARD CORNWELL
Community leaders have pledged to restore a historic seafront shelter - wrecked in an arson attack - to its former glory.
The shelter - one of several alongside Felixstowe prom used by people to picnic, rest, read and relax, shelter and watch the sea all-year-round - was severely damaged in a late-night blaze last October when two waste bins in the open-sided building were set alight.
East Suffolk Council said more than £10,000 of damage was caused to the Victorian shelter, which is more than 120 years old and had only last summer been refurbished.
Now the council is seeking contractors to carry out the work.
Steve Wiles, assistant cabinet member for economic development at East Suffolk Council and also a Felixstowe Town Council member, said the council was currently in the process of tendering for the work required on the main structure of the shelter in Sea Road, opposite the junction with Manwick Road.
Meanwhile, work is taking place to four other Victorian and Edwardian shelters.
Mr Wiles said: "Work to redecorate and upgrade four shelters in Felixstowe has started.
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"The South Hill Shelter, the Bath Tap Beach Shelter, the Jubilee Beach Shelter and the Arcade Beach Shelter are all having work done to ensure they’re in a good condition and can be enjoyed by the public."
Steve Gallant, leader of East Suffolk and also a ward councillor, described the arson attack on the Manwick Shelter as "a deliberate act of vandalism which is completely unacceptable".
He added: “I want to make it very clear that this was not a victimless act – public money and time was spent on the restoration and will need to be spent on the repairs. That is the taxpayer’s money which could be spent elsewhere so it has an impact on everyone, especially at a time when services are already being stretched due to Covid-19."
Mayor of Felixstowe Mark Jepson was left “shocked, saddened and frustrated by this wilful damage”.