Let’s celebrate big changes at resort
AMBITIOUS proposals to regenerate Felixstowe are about to come to a grinding halt.
Over the past few years through – under the secret cloak of the Felixstowe Futures project – an astonishing amount has been achieved.
But government cuts are about to end most of the funding streams, and that will mean the rest of the work in the resort regeneration plan will just have to wait, and it could be a long time before any of it moves back onto the agenda.
The “long-term” proposals will remain long-term.
Welcome as they are, the changes to The Triangle in Hamilton Road are only a short-term solution but a permanent project to create an open-air caf� and events arena, or whatever is finally decided, will have to wait, as will part two of the shared space to do away with the Crescent traffic lights and link the car park to the town.
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A new hotel on Convalescent car park, a project which could include a lift from the beach to the cliffs, new seafront attractions, redevelopment of the pier, and many other projects proposed are now many years away.
Even the redevelopment of the south seafront with homes, a maritime-theme park and refurbished Martello Tower art gallery and heritage centre are not close to fruition, despite being approved.
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But what we should do is to celebrate what has been achieved in some very tough circumstances in the nick of time before funding was whisked away by the cuts.
It’s not just the �2.8 million secured for the shared space shopping area, but also the ancillary schemes which have linked this to the long-held plan to drive traffic away from the town centre – the changes at the top of Convalescent Hill and Tomline Road, the alterations to Bent Hill and Undercliff Road West.
I think the scheme is working well and Hamilton Road certainly looks so much better – though errant cars parked in the wrong places, or people parking without blue badges, is still a daily problem.
The worst day is Sunday – I think visitors who have come for years don’t understand the rules and the road signs make no difference.
There is still much to look forward to. The lottery bid for the �2.6m seafront gardens makeover has just been submitted – surely a dead cert – and the new �1m heritage centre, toilets and ferry berth at Landguard Point is also going ahead, as are the �10m sea defences for the central seafront.
There may still be work to do, but the town is enjoying ample investment and we should be delighted.
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? Read Richard Cornwell’s full column every week in FX – the eight-page pull-out all about the Felixstowe area in the Evening Star every Wednesday.