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Is resort becoming a town by the sea?

PUBLISHED: 16:00 22 March 2013

Glory days - Felixstowe in 1967 when there was plenty to amuse.

Glory days - Felixstowe in 1967 when there was plenty to amuse.

Archant

DE-RESORTING. That’s campaigner Mike Ninnmey’s word for what he claims is Suffolk Coastal’s policy for Felixstowe.

The ex-councillor believes the district council is gradually eroding the resort – taking away those facilities, services and attractions which bring visitors and have made the town a popular seaside.

He feels it will end up just a town by the sea. Another Aldeburgh or Frinton.

Is that really the future of our town?

Suffolk Coastal would strenuously deny it is systematically destroying the resort and claims it is trying to regenerate it.

Joseph James and his team at Felixstowe Futures are certainly keen to keep the town as a resort and see that role as a vital part of its economy – trying to ensure people remain motivated, plans stay on course, problems are overcome, and opportunities are exploited.

The main difficulty though is that the team has no budget for any special events, or new attractions.

But in truth it has always been the same – unlike some coastal councils, Suffolk Coastal has never set aside a “resort budget” each year specifically to enhance the resort.

There is though a terrible air of neglect along the seafront. Unpainted signs, flaking stink pipes, a patched-up prom, missing benches, boarded-up buildings, derelict boating lake, pier which has been closed for years awaiting demolition, gardens well past their best, and empty go-kart track.

Yes, the council has cut back on gardens, and is likely to withdraw funding for the decorative lights. Yes, it has closed the Spa Pavilion. Yes, what should have been a marvellous tourist attraction on the south seafront is a housing estate.

It’s not the same resort as when I was a boy in the 1960s when there were amusements all along the seafront – plenty to keep you entertained and make a trip to the seaside a very full day indeed.

But times have changed. The type of attractions I enjoyed have had their day. People want a different kind of day by the sea.

It would be nice if there were more events – folk festival, autotest, raft race – and if the seafront was kept in tip-top condition.

We do though have new attractions to look forward to – the refurbished seafront gardens and a new pier. It could still be a resort – just not the resort we knew.


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