Height of prom to be raised by one metre in new Felixstowe pier project

Felixstowe prom will be raised by one metre to be level with the top of the slope at the doors of th

Felixstowe prom will be raised by one metre to be level with the top of the slope at the doors of the pier. - Credit: Su Anderson

One of Felixstowe’s best-known features is to undergo its first major change in more than a century to create a new entrance to its pier and make it accessible all-year-round for people of all abilities.

The promenade is to be raised outside the new pier – due to be built in autumn next year – by up to one metre in height.

The walk-way will be remodelled for a length of 65 metres “in a series of linked ramps and shallow gradients” with the new high point immediately outside the pier entrance.

It will then be level with the top of the sea wall alongside the prom and with the top of the current slope leading to the pier doors.

A new ramp and flight of steps will be constructed in the forecourt of Felixstowe Leisure Centre so people can smoothly cross the sea wall straight into the pier at all states of the tide, even when the floodgates are closed.

In a report, Haydn Evans Consulting, for Pier Amusements Ltd, said the leisure centre forecourt was “acknowledged by most parties as an unattractive, unwelcoming negative space” occupying a key position on the seafront.

The company said: “There is an opportunity to create a much better environment in this space, which will become the focal point of the entrances of both the leisure centre and the pier by creating a new square or plaza, possibly with a centrally-roofed but open-sided feature for performances/exhibitions and so on, sheltered seating, and planting to soften and protect the area.

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“It is suggested that displaced car parking spaces might be adequately compensated by an enlargement to the existing car park on the south side of the leisure centre.

“The main aims here are to make both venues more friendly and accessible to pedestrians, providing step-free access to the promenade and the pier at all times, even when the flood gates are closed.”

Work on the new pier is set to start in September 2016. The scheme will see the current pier building replaced with an exciting new structure to house seaside amusements, kiosks, and a cafe/restaurant, plus a perimeter walkway to restore opportunities for promenading over the sea.

The section of pier protruding over the waves will be kept – it has proved too expensive to demolish – but there will be no public access to this part as it still remains in a hazardous state.

If the new pier is successful the building could be extended in later years.