Mulit-million pound project unveiled

PUBLISHED: 23:54 06 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:52 03 March 2010

NEARLY 200 luxury homes, an amphitheatre, massive wooden galleon, and children's leisure areas are among the features of a multi-million pound project unveiled today for Felixstowe seafront.

NEARLY 200 luxury homes, an amphitheatre, massive wooden galleon, and children's leisure areas are among the features of a multi-million pound project unveiled today for Felixstowe seafront.

After 16 years of waiting, the resort's beachside development area is set to see a start on an exciting scheme to transform it into a major tourist attraction to help regenerate the resort.

The key elements of the scheme are:

n An amphitheatre with terraced seating

n A galleon for children to play in and adults to sit in

n Pub and restaurant

n Interactive games

n Play areas for juniors and toddlers

n Maritime coastal trail

n New seafront gardens

n Car parks

The scheme – expected to cost several millions – will be paid for by the building of 175 new homes, including exclusive apartments with sea views.

Some 85 of the homes on the south seafront will be apartments in two sizeable blocks in Manor Terrace, with others in terraces and mews developments. Many of them will be marina-style in three and four storeys with balconies.

Details of the venture were put on display today to whet the appetites of residents who will debate the plans for the first time on Wednesday.

Suffolk Coastal council and Bury St Edmunds-based Bloor Homes have teamed up to create the maritime-themed attraction to be built next to the prom between Orford Road and the Manor Club.

The partnership has stressed that these are draft plans and much will decide on public opinion as they are discussed over the next few weeks.

Residents have been concerned about homes being built on the low-lying land, but council chiefs say there is a one in 200 year chance of it being flooded and the proposed homes are as far away from the waves as possible.

People have also been concerned about the future of the former West End Theatre, the Herman de Stern building – and, according to the plans, this will almost definitely be demolished.

And it will be replaced with the residents' worst fears – a pub or restaurant just yards from homes, especially those occupied by the elderly.

"The council has asked all potential developers to try to find a use for the Herman de Stern. None of them were able to find a potential user," said a council spokesman today.

According to the council, it would cost more than £1.67m to turn the old convalescent home into a small theatre, even though Stage Door Theatre Company did the job for just a few hundred pounds. It is also riddled with asbestos which would cost £30,000 to remove.

The project, described as a link between the seafront and Landguard, contains many innovative and exciting design elements in what the developers call "a public park looking to the future".

The amphitheatre will be used for anything from street entertainment to large-scale concerts.

There will be a cycle trails, sculptures, a café with a beach on which there will be waiter service, seating, walkways with maritime artefacts, mazes, coloured bubble jets of water for people to watch or play in, and the Martello Tower used an art exhibition centre and information point.

New gardens will include areas of wilderness, sand dunes, rocks, lavender fields and a "paradise garden" of beauty and colour.

The plans are already on display in the leisure centre, which will be the venue at 7pm on Wednesday for a public meeting for residents to voice their initial thoughts on the scheme.

Council chiefs expect a good turn out and people are advised to call Sue Edwards at Suffolk Coastal on 01394 444337 to get a ticket.

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