New day centre for Suffolk resort

SENIOR citizens living at the seaside should be able to start the New Year with a brand new modern day centre as work is progressing well on the project.

SENIOR citizens living at the seaside should be able to start the New Year with a brand new modern day centre as work is progressing well on the project.

Felixstowe mayor Doreen Savage laid the foundation stone for the scheme at a special lunchtime ceremony, watched by councillors and community leaders.

The building is understood to be costing a six-figure sum and will provide not only a new drop-in centre for pensioners, but also four flats – desperately-needed social housing in the town centre for couples and single people.

The project is being organised by Felixstowe Town Council with Orwell Housing Association, in conjunction with the Housing Corporation.

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Mrs Savage said cementing in place the foundation stone was "one of the proudest moments of my year".

She added: "I am proud because, when finished, this will be an absolutely superb centre for the Old People's Welfare Association, and proud because it will provide four wonderful flats for people to live in the town centre."

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Town council officials hope the building in Orwell Road will be completed towards the end of the year and say excellent progress has been made so far.

Footings are complete and walls starting to go up. Builders Elliston Steady and Hawes Ltd are carrying out the project, designed by architects Rees Associates.

Richard Holland, chairman of the Old People's Welfare Association, said everyone was very excited about the project, which would provide a purpose-built day centre.

"We are really pleased to see the builders cracking on with the work. We were a bit anxious when we moved out to our temporary home at the United Reformed Church Hall that the site may be untouched for some time, but to see such progress being made is super," he said.

The day centre will occupy the ground floor and it is planned to let the facilities in the evenings and weekends to other community groups and for meetings.

The old day centre, demolished at the end of last year, had been a feature of the resort for the best part of a century. It was the last of a series of wooden buildings brought to the town – others have been destroyed by fire.

Surveys had shown the building needed a huge amount of money spent on repairs and to bring it up to modern standards, and even more work would have been likely within a few years.

Councillors decided it was a situation which could be turned into an opportunity – creating a new high quality new building for the future for older residents along with social housing, always difficult to provide in the town centre.

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