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Multi million pound project moves nearer

PUBLISHED: 23:19 03 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:58 03 March 2010

TALKS are set to take place this week to tie up an exciting multi-million pound deal to regenerate Felixstowe as a seaside resort.

Councillors have chosen a preferred bidder to work with them to develop the prime 17-acre seafront site with a major tourist attraction.

TALKS are set to take place this week to tie up an exciting multi-million pound deal to regenerate Felixstowe as a seaside resort.

Councillors have chosen a preferred bidder to work with them to develop the prime 17-acre seafront site with a major tourist attraction.

Details of the company involved are still a closely-guarded secret.

Suffolk Coastal – which wants to build a maritime-themed attraction to bring in tens of thousands of extra visitors every year – received bids from two interested firms.

Councillors have now expressed an initial preference for one of the companies and officers will meet its representatives this week to hopefully tie up the details.

They have been asked to clarify the company's position on potential changes to the initial outline designs that councillors feel would be beneficial.

"We have had a difficult choice to make between two exciting proposals after long and detailed discussions with the teams behind them, and taking on board the advice of our officers and our outside professional experts," said David Smith, chairman of the Felixstowe south seafront sub-committee.

"The talks with this company will now need to ensure that they are willing to address some of the issues that councillors have raised, while still maintaining the key element that local council tax payers are getting the best possible value for money.

"I hope we may be in a position before Christmas to confirm the council's preferred bidder on this development to give this part of the seafront a bright new modern look that will be attractive to the people of Felixstowe and visitors from the rest of the district and beyond.

"What I can promise is that as soon as possible after the appointment the preferred bidder will produce plans and proposals for consultation.

"This will be the chance for residents to have a real input on the future designs, so they can help shape the scheme before any formal planning applications are considered by the council."

The council wants to see a leisure development with a maritime theme, feature trail, play equipment, pedestrian and cycleways, toilets, landscaping, car parking, and an outdoor events arena on the site, which stretches from the end of Sea Road to the Manor Club.

But the council will not pay for the scheme – this will be done by the developer, who would fund it by building homes to buy and rent on part of the site.

It is intended that when the detailed proposals have been agreed in line with the council's broad goals, and planning permission obtained, the preferred bidder will officially become Suffolk Coastal's partner on the development.

Residents living in the resort's West End want to work with the council, but are keen to see real benefits for their area and will vigorously fight any plans for a jet-ski launch site or for the demolition of the Herman de Stern building, the former West End Theatre.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk


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