Masterplan could be unveiled next month

EXCITING ideas for the future development of Felixstowe could be unveiled next month.Consultants working on a £100,000 masterplan for the resort say the six-month project is coming to an end and they are getting ready to share with the public their findings and proposals.

EXCITING ideas for the future development of Felixstowe could be unveiled next month.

Consultants working on a £100,000 masterplan for the resort say the six-month project is coming to an end and they are getting ready to share with the public their findings and proposals.

Community groups, councils, traders and a wide variety of organisations have had an input into the blueprint venture, giving views on the problems the resort faces and possible solutions.

With an increasing older population, cuts to its health services, loss of its most able young people who move away, and half the people working in the town commuting to it from outside, there are a variety of challenges ahead

Lawrence Revill, director in charge of the project from town planning and urban design consultants David Lock Associates, said the company was approaching the end of its work and was producing its draft final report.

“This is being reviewed by the consultant team, and will then be reviewed by the client team officers who represent Suffolk Coastal, Felixstowe Town Council, the East of England Development Agency and English Partnerships,” he said.

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“We plan to present the draft final report to Suffolk Coastal, local councillors, and the client team including the town council, after this review process.

“We will then present the draft report and its findings in public consultation, which will include a public exhibition and stakeholder meetings. This is provisionally pencilled in for late October.”

The consultants were aware of reports highlighting a list of sites in Felixstowe and the Trimleys and their potential for development.

“This is not derived from our work. We have produced an objective evaluation of the potential development land on the peninsula against a wide range of criteria and this has formed the basis of the reports that have been prepared in draft,” he added.

Research done by the consultants - who held an exhibition in summer to highlight their work - has found the town has an ageing population with its “brightest minds and most able individuals” moving away because of too few well-paid jobs and a lack of affordable housing.

It is feared if the trends continue it could become critical to the viability and vitality of the resort.

Planners' previous policy of a “period of consolidation” after the rapid growth of the 1980s had led to people getting out of the habit of expecting growth and now many are opposed.

WEBLINK: www.davidlock.com

Fatcfile: Felixstowe . . . the facts

n The town has more people of retirement age and fewer of working age than normal - 28 per cent are over 60 years old, compared with 20pc nationally.

n Between 1991-2001, its population grew by 6.6pc but there was a reduction of 18-29 year olds of 5.7pc and a growth of people aged 45-64 of 7.4pc. In 2001, 51pc of those moving from the town were aged between 16 and 34.

n Each day 6,319 people drive down the A14 to work in Felixstowe - 48pc of the town's employment numbers.

n The port employs 2,700 and a further 9,850 work in port-related businesses, including people whose work takes them away from the town such as truckers.

n The port provides low skill, low pay work - average earnings in the town are £365 a week compared with £416 nationally.

n Schools in the town have a capacity for 4,593 children but there are only 4,114 in school and this number is expected to fall to 3,729 by 2010.

n Projections for 2010 show that some schools could become unviable and unsustainable and may have to be rationalised.

n Felixstowe has a lack of affordable housing, forcing young families to leave and denying key workers, such as health, education, social and care staff, a place to live.

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