Gardens makeover fabulous for resort

FOR years it seemed that Felixstowe was missing out on the lottery millions.

While other communities celebrated announcements of huge sums towards exciting new attractions or regeneration projects, our resort appeared destined to never hit the jackpot.

Not any more.

Now we have �2.2 million winging its way to the town – and how exciting is that!

The money is to be put towards the �2.7m project to restore the seafront gardens to their former glory and without it there is no way the work could ever go ahead.

Despite the valiant efforts of our excellent council gardeners, the lack of investment in maintenance and new attractions has meant a slow cycle of decay and deterioration.

There will be people who say �2.7m for gardens, what a waste of money!

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But that misses the point entirely.

Like the man from Woodbridge who wrote to the mayor to say it was Doreen’s duty to send the lottery money to the starving of Africa.

Britain is already sending many millions to help the people in need in that country and yes, it will take many millions more to solve their horrendous problems, but life must go on here, too.

The seven acres of seafront gardens are an important focal point for our town. They are known far and wide – listed as grade two status on the National Register of Parks and Gardens – and attract many visitors.

They are our Christchurch Park, our main open space for people to relax, read, enjoy open-air entertainment, play games, picnic, see rare plants and flowers, open to everyone at all times, and provide extra space for big events on the seafront. We have a duty took after them.

Now they are going to be improved out of all recognition, and not just their important features put back, but new modern ones added so people can enjoy them even more.

Plans include improved access, especially for disabled people, lighting, seating, and restoring heritage features such as the octagonal and round shelters, and the pump house.

A heritage trail will be created through the gardens, plus projects to restore biodiversity by refurbishing ponds and planting, plus building an outdoor performance space and a new shelter next to the Town Hall.

It’s going to be fabulous – and I, for one, can’t wait.