Massive seafront project unveiled

LONG-awaited details of a £15 million-plus project to help regenerate Felixstowe as a seaside resort were unveiled today.It has taken 20 years to reach this stage on the south seafront scheme, but now a start on work could be just months away.

LONG-awaited details of a £15 million-plus project to help regenerate Felixstowe as a seaside resort were unveiled today.

It has taken 20 years to reach this stage on the south seafront scheme, but now a start on work could be just months away.

Tourism chiefs hope the venture will generate a £1 million spending boom every year for the town's traders as visitors pour in to see and enjoy the new maritime park, designed to attract families.

But today as Suffolk Coastal council's development partners Bloor Homes formally lodged a planning application for the 17-acre site, objectors were preparing to fight the scheme tooth and nail.

Householders say the land is a floodplain and parts of it act as a vital soakaway when the sea overtops the defences. Residents, who have clubbed together to fund legal experts, also want the land left as open space to be enjoyed by the whole community.

But others will see the low-key attractions with 209 homes to pay for them as a missed opportunity to give Felixstowe facilities that appeal to more visitors.

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The main attractions will be a refurbished Martello Tower art gallery, a classic Greek semi-circular ampitheatre for open-air concerts, local bands and street entertainers, plus car parks, restaurant, café, gardens, wooden galleon, and traditional and unusual play areas, all on a beach and sea theme.

Today Felixstowe Town Council announced that it would hold a special meeting to make recommendations to Suffolk Coastal - which will make the final decision - on March 17 at Langer Primary School at 7pm. The public will be allowed to speak for the first half hour.

In its submission , Bloor Homes said: "It is the belief that the creation of a park based on a maritime theme, incorporating a high quality urban housing scheme, will form an integral part of the wider regeneration programme envisaged for this area of Felixstowe.

"The development will considerably improve this part of the resort and be a major draw to visitors.

"The park will provide a wide range of services and recreational facilities for residents as well as visitors to Felixstowe.

"The majority of these facilities will be aimed at families and their children and adults over 35, and designed to compliment those facilities already present in the town."

The leisure attractions will cost £2.3 million - in effect, what the council receives for giving up the land for the project.

Building the 209 homes, which will include 21 affordable homes, will cost around £12 million. The housing will include 25 four-bed houses and 18 three bed ones, 123 two-bed apartments and some smaller ones at 33 homes per acre. All will be built 30 cm above the height of a predicted sea surge.

Suffolk Coastal has agreed a 50-50 profit sharing scheme if Bloor Homes makes more profit than it is expecting - that figure is confidential. If the development loses money, Bloor will bear the loss.

n What do you think of the project - should Suffolk Coastal council be allowed to decide its own scheme? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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