New home leaps first hurdle

PART of a multi-million pound project to build a new state-of-the art home for the blind and visually-impaired at Felixstowe has been granted planning permission.

PART of a multi-million pound project to build a new state-of-the art home for the blind and visually-impaired at Felixstowe has been granted planning permission.

Council officials have given the go-ahead for the demolition of the Conford House warden-controlled centre and its replacement with a “very sheltered” 32-flat project joint development between Ipswich Blind Society and Flagship Housing.

Each flat will have two bedrooms, living room, kitchen and bathroom, and community facilities, all adapted for the visually impaired. Care and support will be provided by staff on-site and night staff.

The approval by Suffolk Coastal is the first step in the project, and now consultation is taking part on the second piece in the jigsaw.

This will involve converting the century-old St Felix Home for the Blind in Princes Road to housing - vital because the work will generate the money to help pay for the new flats off Taunton Road and Exmoor Road, Walton.

Felixstowe Town Council will give its views today on the proposals to convert the main house into two large town houses and a smaller home, convert stables into a home and a new house to be built in the garden.

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The plans retain the original features of the former doctor's house, built in 1902.

Once the new scheme is completed, the residents of St Felix will transfer and the old home will be sold to a developer.

Application for grant aid is being made to the Housing Corporation, and if all goes according to plan, residents will move in late 2010.

Campaigners are backing the project and have pledged to carry on fundraising. They appreciate St Felix is not the best place in which to deliver care for the visually-impaired but believe the service must be kept and say there is a shortage of specialist sheltered housing and the scheme will be the only development east of Birmingham providing specifically for visually-impaired people.

Do you support the project? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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