Fury at promenade prison

"WELCOME to Stalag Felixstowe!" That could be the new sign on the resort's seafront if new safety work takes place because it was claimed today that it would look like a prison.

"WELCOME to Stalag Felixstowe!"

That could be the new sign on the resort's seafront if new safety work takes place because it was claimed today that it would look like a prison.

A row has erupted because the Environment Agency has told town councillors it needs to put new wire mesh fencing along parts of the seafront to stop people falling into the sea.

But while councillors agree with people protection, they are furious at the unsightly fencing to be put up at the Manor Wall, Manor Terrace, and Felixstowe Ferry.

Plans committee chairman Andy Smith said: "Being in one of the caravans near the Manor Club will be slightly less pleasant than being in Highpoint jail.

"We have written to object but I don't expect much of a result. No-one is expected to have any responsibility for themselves in any way, shape or form these days."

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In its letter, the town council said it "bitterly regretted the apparent necessity to install this unsightly and visitor hostile fencing".

Mr Smith said the proposals from the Environment Agency showed fencing which looked like scaffolding and wire mesh all along the Manor Wall.

The wall, about 300 metres long, was built just over 20 years ago to link the end of the prom with Landguard's sea defences. It runs along the front of the Manor Club and caravan site.

The Environment Agency said the fencing was needed because a recent health and safety risk assessment had highlighted the need for safety improvements along sea walls where the vertical drop was more than two metres and the drop was currently unguarded.

The metal fencing would match fencing on other parts of the seafront and be installed to Health and Safety and British Standard specifications.

"The intention is to protect the public, particularly children, against these vertical drops, where there is the greatest use of a seawall," said the agency.

It is the second time in recent months that the agency has fallen foul of the town council – and was accused of spoiling the look of Landguard when it put up more than 30 signs telling people not to swim near the groynes, and because of distance limits effectively banned swimming in the area.

The agency later apologised and said the signs were standard ones used at other resorts. It had not intended to ban swimming but make people aware of hidden underwater dangers.

Half the signs have been removed and it is hoped the wording will be changed.

n What do you think – does the Manor Wall need fencing? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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