New concerns over tower's future

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have asked the country's leading history experts to reassess the impact a massive regeneration project would have on an important Suffolk landmark.

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have asked the country's leading history experts to reassess the impact a massive regeneration project would have on an important Suffolk landmark.

The historic Martello Tower at the centre of Felixstowe's south seafront has been earmarked for renovation as an arts and education centre as part a multi-million pound redevelopment.

But Suffolk Preservation Society is deeply concerned about its future and the housing and new attractions which will surround it.

The SPS has contacted English Heritage to request an investigation into the potential effect the scheme could have on the Napoleonic fortress and is seeking changes to the plans.


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Society director Richard Ward said the 158 homes, maritime park, play area, gardens and car park on 17.5 acres between Orford Road, Langer Road and Manor Terrace could harm the building's setting and its future protection.

It has appealed to Suffolk Coastal to delay a decision until English Heritage has had the opportunity to respond.

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“This proposal would have a profound and lasting impact on the unique setting of the historic Martello Tower,” said Mr Ward.

“This has caused both ourselves, and many local residents, grave concern.

“We have asked English Heritage, as the country's experts on the historic environment, to look again at this proposal and consider its potential affect. It would make sense to us to defer the discussion of this application until after that work is complete.”

The society also had concerns over the quality of the proposal and the precedent it could set for future development in the town.

“We feel a lot of work still needs to be done to bring this proposal up to the standards we should all be aiming for. We would urge the council to seek improvements - before it is too late,” added Mr Ward.

Suffolk Coastal and its development partners have agreed to delay the project because of the recession and review it in the autumn.

The deal provides �300,000 for repairs to the monument but around �755,000 could be needed for conversion.

One idea on the table is a multi-faceted arts, education and discovery centre called Window on the World for studies in environmental and coastal sciences, with new technology at its heart.

What should the Martello Tower be used for? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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