Maritime park proposal defended

COMMUNITY leaders today defended their proposals to create a £2.4 million maritime park funded by new homes at Felixstowe- despite continuing concerns over the deal.

COMMUNITY leaders today defended their proposals to create a £2.4 million maritime park funded by new homes at Felixstowe- despite continuing concerns over the deal.

Opponents of the project for the resort's south seafront claim there is a cloak of secrecy surrounding the financing of the venture and believe the public is getting a raw deal.

But Suffolk Coastal District Council says details of the contract between itself and developer Bloor Homes have to remain confidential because they involve a private company.

Campaigner Trevor Lockwood, a member of the Felixstowe Fund, a group of residents which wants to be involved in promoting the town and running facilities, has highlighted a series of issues about the 17-acre beachside site.

Council leader Ray Herring said: “After some 20 years of discussions and false dawns on this derelict seafront site we now have a comprehensive leisure and housing bringing clear community benefits.

“Not only does the housing support the capital financing of the community leisure facilities but also assists us in meeting our various housing targets strongly promoted by government.

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“The agreement with Bloors has been subject to substantial professional advice, encompasses a profit share arrangement where profits from the development over and above normal profit margins are shared between the developer and the council taxpayer. Another benefit is that the development carries little or no financial risk to the council.”

But Mr Lockwood said the council would still need to keep paying for the upkeep of the maritime park - reckoned to be more than £100,000 a year - forever.

“This exploitation of public amenity land by a private developer who is paying nothing for the land until they make a profit, if any, is a disgrace, and I cannot even find out the contractual arrangements the council has made with this company,” he said.

“At each stage the real truth is denied, and all facts hidden under a cloak of secrecy which is extremely disturbing.

“The development does not give Felixstowe residents any substantial gain, indeed ratepayers will be faced with a continuously mounting bill to maintain the public open space over the coming years.”

He has asked if the development serves the housing needs of the area, details of the insurance claim for the fire-damaged Herman de Stern, and why money for education provision is only from profit.

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