New bid to save Felixstowe pier
CAMPAIGNERS have today launched a bid to save Felixstowe's best-known landmark from the demolition gangs – and get it open to the public again.But they don't want the resort's pier turned into multi-million pound mega-attraction, and say a low-key "Southwold-style" pier would suit the town and its visitors much better.
By Richard Cornwell
CAMPAIGNERS have today launched a bid to save Felixstowe's best-known landmark from the demolition gangs – and get it open to the public again.
But they don't want the resort's pier turned into multi-million pound mega-attraction, and say a low-key "Southwold-style" pier would suit the town and its visitors much better.
Town and district councillors are also hoping to persuade the landmark's owners to think again and consider a smaller attraction.
Marion and Gerry Bell have launched a petition at their Castaway fishing tackle and bait shop after so many anglers and other people voiced their concern and disappointment at losing the pier.
"A lot of our customers have said that the pier was a great place to fish and walk
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and was important to people in the town and visitors," said Mrs Bell.
"People don't want to lose it. They would love to see it repaired so that it was safe to use as it always was – surely money would be better spent on repairing it than all the thousands it will cost to demolish it.
"Everyone we have spoken to has said that they just want the pier as a plain pier, and they don't want a casino or a revolving restaurant.
"Felixstowe isn't a Brighton or a Blackpool and the sort of attractions those resorts have would not be right here."
The pier was greatly loved by anglers who fished from its seaward end, and was the only place disabled fishermen could practise their sport, as motorised buggies and wheelchairs could be ridden along it.
The campaigners would just like to see the pier restored with possibly more kiosks and sideshows.
The petition – at Castaway in Undercliff Road West – calls on the Felixstowe Pier Trust to rethink its plan to bring in the bulldozers but trust secretary Norman Thompson said turning the pier into a mega-attraction to regenerate the resort was the only viable project.
"Suffolk Coastal council has asked us to join them on a visit to Southwold pier to look at what has been done there and we are considering the offer," he said.
"But if Felixstowe is to be regenerated as a resort it needs a massive attraction which will bring people here from further than Ipswich, where the vast majority of our visitors come from, to spend money and revitalise the town.
"The government's book on regeneration of seaside resorts is very clear about this – you need more than new gardens and a park, you need an innovative and unique attraction to bring more business and one which opens 52 weeks a year."
The trust wanted to build a new £15m 200-yard long pier, featuring the world's biggest revolving restaurant, conference centre, casino, ten-pin bowls and other attractions.
The East of England Development Agency agreed £20,000 for a feasibility study and a mystery donor gave £10,000, but the plan failed when Suffolk Coastal council would only give £5,000, leaving the project short of its total.