New cash hope for seafront gardens
FRESH ways are being examined today to try to find more than £1 million needed for the regeneration of Felixstowe's famous seafront gardens.Anglia in Bloom judges last year called for a programme to be put in place to revamp the Spa Gardens after a failed effort to gain lottery cash for the ambitious project.
By Richard Cornwell
FRESH ways are being examined today to try to find more than £1 million needed for the regeneration of Felixstowe's famous seafront gardens.
Anglia in Bloom judges last year called for a programme to be put in place to revamp the Spa Gardens after a failed effort to gain lottery cash for the ambitious project.
It is four years since Suffolk Coastal sought £950,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and since then Ipswich Borough Council has obtained £3.2m from the fund for the regeneration of Christchurch Park.
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Doreen Savage, chairman of the resort regeneration group, said: “We have been told there is no money available at the moment, so it is stalemate.
“But we are not giving up on this because it is an important project for Felixstowe and needs to be done.
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“We are still pursuing the restoration of the gardens and talking about others ways of finding the money to get the work done. It has not been forgotten.”
Conservative councillor Andy Smith said one of the avenues for a possible cash injection was the new Felixstowe Futures group, which will be seeking grant aid from national and European bodies for a range of projects to regenerate the resort.
He said: “I have high hopes this may be one of the initiatives which the group pursues - don't expect the money next year, but in the medium to long-term I think we should be very optimistic.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Ninnmey said: “Progress has been very disappointing so far. We are talking about serious money to get the work done in the gardens because there is a lot to do.”
The project drawn up by Suffolk Coastal officials envisaged using the 7.5-acres of Edwardian gardens, which are on the National Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, as a “a unique selling point” to attract visitors, overhauling them to return them to their original splendour.
The gardens stretch from Bath Tap to the funfair and include the Spa Gardens and the Town Hall Gardens.
Would a rejuvenated Spa Gardens bring visitors back to Felixstowe? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk