Group disenchanted by new pier ideas

A GROUP which wanted to transform Felixstowe's pier into a mega attraction to take the resort into the 21st century was today “deeply disenchanted” by new ideas to regenerate the landmark.

A GROUP which wanted to transform Felixstowe's pier into a mega attraction to take the resort into the 21st century was today “deeply disenchanted” by new ideas to regenerate the landmark.

The Felixstowe Pier Trust - which was closed after its £15 million project did not receive community backing - got back together for a meeting to discuss the latest situation.

Consultants have suggested the crumbling pier could be revitalised and turned into a major water sports centre.

It would include a bandstand or performance area, café and shops and attractions similar to Southwold's pier as part of a revamp of the seafront and town centre.


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Norman Thompson, secretary of the trust, said the group was “deeply disenchanted” with the proposals.

He said: “We drew up a perfectly good scheme for the pier, which would have made it a national attraction, but the consultants don't seem to have been briefed about that at all.

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“In fact, no-one has contacted us to talk about these new ideas.

“Civil engineering consultants and the pier management agreed as far back as 1997 it was beyond repair and should be closed - what we are looking at now is a total rebuild, a new pier complex.

“We put together an exciting project which was developed and evaluated as commercially viable and sustainable. The proposals were unique with immense appeal to the tourist trade.

“The regeneration forum gave us verbal support of some magnitude and with help from John Gummer MP the ideas were presented to people in government and in regional agencies and they loved the ideas.

“But the project failed not because of viability or sustainability but because sufficient local and regional funding could not be found for the preparatory work.”

Mr Thompson doubted whether a Southwold-style pier would work at Felixstowe.

He said: “I think this would have little attraction at Felixstowe - we need more under-cover all-year-round facilities and the pier could be the lead project and a real catalyst to the regeneration of the town if developed as big family attraction.

“If SnOasis fails to get the go-ahead we will definitely be talking to the people behind it to see if they would be interested in Felixstowe pier.”

The new ideas for the have been put forward by David Lock Associates, who are drawing up a blueprint for the seafront for the Felixstowe and Trimley Futures Group.

The company said the regeneration of the pier would be a key project for the resort's future.

What do you think should be done with Felixstowe pier? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: Sea Dome

Felixstowe Pier Trust wanted to extend the pier to 200 yards long and 200 ft wide instead of the current 25ft, and about 92,000 sq ft in area.

It would have had the world's largest revolving restaurant with 100ft diameter, plus tenpin bowling, shops, snack bars, family entertainments with children's attractions, bars, 300-delagate conference centre, and a heritage centre and exhibition hall.

It would also have featured a landing stage for pleasure boats and a lighthouse 150ft above sea level.

Financial consultants forecast it would attract 200,000 extra visitors a year, bringing 150 new jobs and inject £3.9 million into the town's economy annually.

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