New ideas for seafront scheme

FRESH proposals are being drawn up for Felixstowe's derelict south seafront development site, The Evening Star can reveal today.Bloor Homes are likely to submit new plans within the next few weeks – and hope the revised scheme will overcome councillors' criticisms.

FRESH proposals are being drawn up for Felixstowe's derelict south seafront development site, The Evening Star can reveal today.

Bloor Homes are likely to submit new plans within the next few weeks – and hope the revised scheme will overcome councillors' criticisms.

The company – Suffolk Coastal council's partner in the multi-million pound project – is also expected to appeal to the secretary of state over the council's refusal of the initial £15m plans, which will mean a public inquiry will be held.

Meanwhile, Felixstowe town councillors are to meet representatives from Suffolk Coastal to discuss the development proposals and put forward ideas on behalf of the town as to what might be acceptable on the 17-acre site.

Town clerk Susan Robinson told the town council's plans committee she had met Bruce Laws, officer in charge of the project, to discuss how the council might be involved in the planning of any alternative development.

Bloor Homes were currently checking out the feasibility of appealing against the refusal of planning permission but had not yet made a final decision.

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Mr Laws said Suffolk Coastal anticipated there would be an appeal, but in the meantime revised proposals were being drawn up to run parallel with the appeal process and would "address the issues raised at refusal".

The revised scheme would include moving housing and play areas away from the Martello Tower to respect its open setting, and also providing for the repair of the monument. Talks were also taking place with English Heritage.

Suffolk Coastal would look separately at how the conversion of the tower to an art gallery might be funded.

Planners criticised the amount of housing, saying 220 homes was the majority of the site, and there was less leisure facilities than on a village playing field.

Whether there will be a reduction in housing or increase in recreation is not yet clear, but the Herman de Stern, which planners said must stay, still looks likely to be demolished because of asbestos and high cost of conversion to a new use.

The fresh proposals will be will be examined by cabinet members before a planning application is submitted.

The town council is hoping to meet Mr Laws and Suffolk Coastal leader Ray Herring in public this month. There will be a need to exclude press and public when commercially-sensitive financial matters are discussed.

Plans committee vice chairman Mike Stokell welcomed the meeting and hoped it would allow councillors to give their views to the district council and gain an understanding of the complex financial deal for the land.

"I think it is an excellent idea and it is a step forward. I stress that any exclusion of the public will not be to hide any discussion but because of the financially sensitive nature of commercial matters," he said.

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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