Missed opportunity for Suffolk resort
TIME is running out today for Felixstowe to create a modern attraction to regenerate its tourist trade – with demolition of its pier moving closer.Moves are taking place to wind up the charitable trust which owns the landmark and with it will go the £15 million project which could have revived the resort and brought in tens of thousands of visitors.
TIME is running out today for Felixstowe to create a modern attraction to regenerate its tourist trade – with demolition of its pier moving closer.
Moves are taking place to wind up the charitable trust which owns the landmark and with it will go the £15 million project which could have revived the resort and brought in tens of thousands of visitors.
Organisers say Felixstowe has "missed a wonderful opportunity" because its tourism chiefs and councillors were just too scared to take it.
"It just seems ridiculous that they were not prepared to even explore the pier project – Felixstowe doesn't need more gardens and flowers, it needs an attraction for modern society," said pier trust secretary Norman Thompson.
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"We should have grasped the nettle and gone for it – a proper 'experience' for visitors which would have given the resort's economy a huge boost.
"Great Blakenham is set to get a £300 million Snoasis resort and Felixstowe couldn't even gets its head round a £15m pier with a revolving restaurant.
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"It is another nail in Felixstowe's coffin because that will attract people away from here because it will be somewhere exciting and different to visit.
"All we get is new toilets at Bath Hill – which we are supposed to be excited about – gardens and houses on the south seafront, and refurbishment of the seafront gardens.
"People want experiences today – different things. That's why Snoasis will be a huge success and why Felixstowe's pier would have been, too."
The trust wanted to rebuild the pier – the wooden section over the sea is closed because it is in danger of collapse – and create the world's biggest revolving restaurant, heritage centre, berth for boats, ten-pin bowling and other attractions.
It would have had five decks and stretched 200 yards out to sea and there were high hopes of lottery cash and private funding.
But despite support from the East of England Development Agency and others, the plan was scuppered by Suffolk Coastal council after it would only give £5,000 – half of what was requested – towards a feasibility study.
"We have to make decisions about the pier soon and decide how best to demolish it – there is no money to repair it and we cannot re-open it to the public in its current state," said Mr Thompson.
"Without a pier, the trust has no function. It is very sad for Felixstowe."
n What do you think – should the powers that be step in and help? Would a major attraction be right for Felixstowe or should it decline into a town by the sea? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk