Martello tower could be window on world

A NAPOLEONIC fortress on Felixstowe seafront could be transformed into an arts and education centre called Window on the World, it was revealed today.The project is in the early stages of development and would see the Martello Tower on the south seafront transformed into a multi-faceted arts, education and discovery centre for studies in environmental and coastal sciences, with new technology at its heart.

By Richard Cornwell

A NAPOLEONIC fortress on Felixstowe seafront could be transformed into an arts and education centre called Window on the World, it was revealed today.

The project is in the early stages of development and would see the Martello Tower on the south seafront transformed into a multi-faceted arts, education and discovery centre for studies in environmental and coastal sciences, with new technology at its heart.

The aim would be to connect Felixstowe globally - turning the tower into an international beacon communicating with and linking communities around the world, beginning with those with Martello Towers.

It could also have interactive IT facilities which enabled students or visitors to explore the history of Martello Towers in Felixstowe, and key issues such as the environment, and the use of IT.

The ideas are contained in a new report by consultants Sheeran Lock Ltd following a brainstorming day to assess options for the 19th century tower, which included the Window on the World proposals from students at Deben High School.

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Suffolk Coastal cabinet member Rae Leighton said: “Thanks to the leisure and homes scheme planned for Felixstowe South, the funding is available for turning a dilapidated eyesore into a significant asset but this is likely to be our one and only opportunity to get it right.

“Although small, the redeveloped tower should be excellent in every respect and its potential use can include the landscaped area around it.

“We want to make the most of its potential and will now be calling in experts to help us plan its future, as well as involving local people.”

The council's partners in the Felixstowe South regeneration project, JS Bloors (Sudbury) Ltd are committed to funding up to £300,000 of the repairs and refurbishment of the tower and creating a public park around it.

Further funding could come from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Union.

People wanting to get involved in the project should contact Suffolk Coastal's arts and heritage development officer Rachel Nightingale on 01394 444294 or email rachel.nightingale@suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

Do you think it would be a good use for the tower? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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