New visitor information centre set for site of burned down fishing hut

Visitors to Felixstowe will be able to find out more about the resort at a new larger and improved information point

Visitors to Felixstowe will be able to find out more about the resort at a new larger and improved information point this summer - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A new visitor information centre and an ice cream and drinks kiosk are to be constructed on Felixstowe beach this summer.

The facilities are to be built on two vacant sites - one where a Peter's ice cream kiosk was smashed and wrecked by the waves, and the other where the Old Fishing Hut stood before it was burned down in an arson attack.

The fishing hut, which sold fresh shellfish and seafood, was torched 18 months ago.

Framlingham-based Hollins Architects, Surveyors & Planning Consultants, representing East Suffolk Council, which has submitted the planning applications for the new facilities, said: "The business located there at the time had been selling fresh shellfish and seafood from the sea front for five months, following the hut being empty for some time.

The fire on the Felixstowe seafront has gutten one beach hut and local business, The Old Fishing Hut

The fire on the Felixstowe seafront gutted The Old Fishing Hut - it was later demolished and its site has remained vacant - Credit: ALAN BOYLE

"It is unknown how long the Old Fishing Hut had been in this position. The business owner was unable to obtain insurance for the site and therefore could not rebuild the hut, nor reopen the business.

"The site is now cleared down to the existing slab and the council would like to reinstate a new hut that emulates the original structure."

The new hut will replace two huts on the prom off Undercliff Road West, near Pier Bight, and provide a purpose-built information point where visitors can find out more about the resort and its attractions.

Official opening of the Visit Felixstowe TIC beach huts on Felixstowe seafront back in 2016

Official opening of the Visit Felixstowe TIC beach huts on Felixstowe seafront back in 2016 following the closure of the town's Tourist Information Centre. Now a new bigger hut will open this summer due to growing demand - Credit: LUCY TAYLOR

The current Visit Felixstowe huts opened in 2016 and now welcome around 10,000 visitors a year. The facility is manned by over 40 volunteers, known as Visit Felixstowe Ambassadors, who offer a wealth of knowledge and expert advice to visitors all year round, seven days a week if weather allows, providing leaflets and maps on attractions, places to stay, eat and shop, transport links and events.

The new larger hut will allow bigger internal displays, provide space for more information, be more Covid secure as there will be more space available to move around in than in the traditional huts, and will allow the two current huts to be removed.

Felixstowe is looking forward to a bumper summer with more people holidaying at home 

Felixstowe is looking forward to a bumper summer with more people holidaying at home - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The ice cream and drinks kiosk will be built on a redundant base with power on the beach off Sea Road between the Arwela and Manwick beach shelters.

Hollins said the plan was in response to the increased enquiries from independent local businesses, either wishing to expand or start a new business venture.

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