Felixstowe Town Hall: For sale?

COMMUNITY leaders could be offered the chance to buy Felixstowe Town Hall.

COMMUNITY leaders could be offered the chance to buy Felixstowe Town Hall.

A decision is still yet to be made, but Suffolk Coastal District Council is looking to dispose some of its under-used and no-longer-needed assets and could sell them to parish and town councils and community groups.

However, the district council has stressed it is not selling the family silver and simply adopting a more business-like approach to the management of its assets.

Felixstowe Town Hall, in Undercliff Road West, is one of the prime locations to be considered in a new detailed survey of buildings and land owned by the authority.

The property is home to the town council, but many rooms on the upper floor have been rarely used since the magistrates' courts closed and moved to Ipswich some years ago.

It would be difficult to let these to outside organisations, unless it was a recognised charity or community service.

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Likewise, there are offices as part of the Tourist Information Centre building next door which are unused and could be sold or leased.

District councillor Robert Whiting said: “Suffolk Coastal has over the years acquired a wide range of strategic and local assets in a rather ad-hoc way.

“It is high time we thoroughly reviewed our portfolio of properties to see what we need to keep, what is more appropriate for other organisations to hold, and what we should consider for disposal in order to generate some additional income.

“Although it is no secret that this council is battling through financially challenging times, I would stress that this is not about selling off the family silver.

“If our assets are not contributing to our current objectives and in turn are not providing good benefit to the community, and are just a drain on our resources because of their ongoing maintenance costs, then we should dispose of them, either to other local organisations that can use them positively or to attract income that can be invested in our services.

“We will be looking closely at where it would be appropriate to transfer our assets to the local town or parish council, and other partner organisations so they are in a better position to provide the services that people want.”

Should Suffolk Coastal sell off its property? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk