Landmark building saved from demolition

URGENT action has been taken to stop one of Felixstowe's most prominent buildings being bulldozed.

Richard Cornwell

URGENT action has been taken to stop one of Felixstowe's most prominent buildings being bulldozed.

The decision to protect The Mount, which stands on Bull Cliff overlooking the main seafront with sweeping views of the bay, was made under special but rarely used planning law powers.

The Mount, in Garfield Road, was designed by one of the resort's key early 20th century architects, Henry Buxton, who built more than 50 other buildings in the town, including Cliff House.

Other disused buildings in Felixstowe have disappeared in the past without protection. Suffolk Coastal District Council was criticised when the Victorian former Beach Station building and art deco Cavendish Hotel were demolished at night, despite campaigns to save them.

This time the council agreed to make an urgent direction under the Town and Country Planning Act to withdraw permitted development rights to knock down The Mount.

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Philip Ridley, the council's head of planning services, said demolition would affect the proper planning of the area and threaten its amenities.

“The Mount is not listed, nor is it in a Conservation Area,” he said.

“It is the view of officers that The Mount nevertheless makes an important contribution to the townscape of Felixstowe and is of local historical value sufficient to warrant its retention.”

Planners say the building is potentially capable of re-use and adaptation; is a local landmark; retains the majority of its original features and finishes; and is part of the irreplaceable Edwardian character of Felixstowe and its loss would erode the town's heritage.

“Coincidentally, and with the support and encouragement of English Heritage, consideration is being given to the designation of a new Conservation Area to include what is informally described as Felixstowe South,” said Mr Ridley.

“This new area would include the site of The Mount as contributing to the conservation area.

“The view of English Heritage is that 'the streets leading back from Sea Road and some of the buildings on the slopes above this area have a distinctive character that warrants their consideration for a new separate area designation'.”

Proposals are likely to be put to councillors in the next four months.

Should The Mount be saved? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail