New development delayed by recession

A MULTI-million pound project to create a maritime park with 158 new homes on Felixstowe seafront is likely to be severely delayed because of the credit crunch and economic downturn.

A MULTI-million pound project to create a maritime park with 158 new homes on Felixstowe seafront is likely to be severely delayed because of the credit crunch and economic downturn.

Council officials are refusing to speculate how long it will be before building work starts now - and are negotiating with the developers over some changes to the scheme.

Opponents fear the £25 million project for the 17.5-acre south seafront - the key project for the regeneration of the resort - could be altered dramatically or may not happen at all.

Work was supposed to have started on Martello Park on September 29 with completion by April next year.

Councillors though have been told it “may take longer to come to fruition because of the fragile state of the housing market”.

Liberal Democrat Mike Ninnmey said: “No deal has yet been signed with Bloors - they could still just walk away if the recession really bites hard.

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“On top of this, we have the prospect of more changes and we don't know what they will be but expect more leisure will be lost.”

Mr Ninnmey said if there was to be a major delay the council should look at alternative projects.

A Suffolk Coastal council spokesman said: “As is common with major planning applications, there have been ongoing discussions between the applicant and the council regarding the final version of the proposed scheme.

“Final details are being prepared by the applicant and it is expected that these will need further consultation with local residents.

“Bloors remains Suffolk Coastal's preferred partner and there is as yet no reason why the council would need to revisit the matter of its 'reserve partner' as the project is continuing to progress.”

The £1.8 million leisure facilities include a variety of new play equipment for all ages, with water play jets, picnic areas and seats, cycle paths, gardens and a small stage and seating area for musical and theatrical events.

There will also be 59 beach huts, kiosks, landscaping, public car parks and a new toilet block.

Sale of houses will also generate further funds to refurbish the Napoleonic Martello Tower and kick-start plans to use it for an arts, heritage or education project.

Should major changes be made to the scheme - or is it good enough as it is? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk