Felixstowe invited to bid for huge grant to regenerate neglected prom gardens
- Credit: Archant
Hopes are high that Felixstowe could be in line for massive grant to help with a new £1million project to regenerate one of the most popular parts of the seafront.
The project would revamp the neglected Sea Road gardens with a series of different attractions and also provide a café with community space on nearby Martello Park.
The resort has passed stage one of the Coastal Communities Fund process and has been invited to apply for £950,000 – but council officials need to act fast as applications need to be submitted in January.
Geoff Holdcroft, deputy Suffolk Coastal leader and cabinet member for economic development, said: “The proposal will add substantially to the regeneration of part of Felixstowe seafront which requires public and private investment for economic growth.
“As an anchor regeneration development, it will help to make Felixstowe a more attractive destination and significantly add to the resort’s visitor economy.
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“The proposal will also generate jobs, with a direct economic benefit and it will also provide indirect benefits to the area through greater footfall along the South Seafront by acting as a destination complementing the recent pier and historic garden destination investment.”
The southern part of the resort – home to the amusements, Sunday market, arcades and other traditional seaside attractions – is often packed on weekends all year round and throughout the spring and summer as the main place most visitors head.
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Suffolk Coastal District Council and Felixstowe Forward have drawn up plans for a facelift which would see the gardens transformed into a “series of rooms”, a concept which divides them into a run of very different areas with different characters and functions.
These could include a place to play, a dune garden to lounge and rest in, a place to meet, formal gardens, a play, landscape and sculpture garden for families, a ‘parklet’ picnic area, and an artisan street featuring pop-up shops and eating places, possibly housed in converted shipping containers.
Tourism chiefs say: “Each space should have a different character and function and should be exciting places to encounter, drawing pedestrians along the promenade and providing opportunity for gathering, seating, socialising and events.”
The Martello Park café already has planning permission and the aim is to find an operator to run the it on a lease-hold basis and for it to feature adaptable space for diverse community uses.