Landguard review to be held amid uncertain future funding

Landguard Fort, Felixstowe, is one of the areas it is hoped will benefit from future lottery funding

Landguard Fort, Felixstowe, is one of the areas it is hoped will benefit from future lottery funding Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A review into the future of how the Landguard area of Felixstowe is managed is set to take place, as question marks loom over its future funding.

The site, which features the Grade I Listed Landguard Fort, Felixstowe Museum, surrounding ancient monument, local nature reserve, cafe and visitor centre is currently owned and managed by individual organisations.

But some of the area’s key funding is set to cease in 2022, and with the area operating as an informal group, named Landguard Partnership, obtaining Heritage Lottery Fund grants has been difficult.

It is hoped that having a formal management group will help unlock future cash.

Andy Smith, partnership member and Suffolk Coastal district councillor for Felixstowe South, said: “It’s really the next stage of evolution.

“The governance review is about looking hard at this complex web and understanding how to create a situation where we can move forward.”

The report, which is set to go to Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet on Tuesday, said that the fort heritage site did not have an efficient model because it was owned by Historic England and managed by English Heritage.

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Other organisations involved include the council, Landguard Fort Trust, Felixstowe History and Museum Society and the Landguard Conservation Trust.

Question marks also remain over the area’s future funding.

The report said that financial contributions from the Port of Felixstowe are due to end in 2022, after the port extended it for a further four years earlier this year, with cash from Section 106 payments (those made by developers in the area to boost infrastructure) are also set to end.

Mr Smith admitted that the future funding was uncertain, and added: “The port have been reasonably generous for the interim funding for the next four years, by which time we need to be self sufficient.

“We have the cafe and a proportion of that goes to Landguard and it’s already been agreed eventually to charge for car parking to fund the gap on an ongoing basis.”

Mr Smith added: “Landguard is a huge attraction that could become a really major regional attraction if we can put together that next stage for a major lottery bid.”