New pier will bring back the feelgood factor

WHAT an amazing attraction Felixstowe will have when the new pier is built.

In one fell swoop the resort will get a fantastic reason for people to visit – and it could prove a tremendous boost to its economy. The moaners need to get behind this amazing opportunity.

There should be plenty for people to enjoy with many of the exciting proposed attractions being those originally included in the �15 million Sea Dome which never got off the ground.

The revolving restaurant may have gone, but the shipping observation area – with hi-tech screens showing operations at the Port of Felixstowe so people can watch the vessels’ voyages – plus the bowling, gaming centre, caf�, bar and restaurants are all there.

The key part of the terrific design – very similar to the new pier at Weston-super-Mare – is the inclusion of the function suite able to seat 325 people.

As well as being a suitable space for exhibitions, dances, dinners, wedding receptions, parties, and so on, the main bonus will be the ability to attract conferences to an excellent and exciting venue, sticking out over the sea with panoramic views and restaurants and bars on tap.

Many coastal towns have conference facilities and make a very good living out of attracting different organisations to spend a few days by the sea.

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Felixstowe used to have the regional Young Conservatives visit every year, with several top MPs and other key speakers, and it was a great boost to the town. Once the resort even hosted the Tories’ central council when the cabinet sat on the stage of the Spa Pavilion.

The spin-offs of such events were lucrative – hotels and B&Bs benefitted, pubs, restaurants and shops saw an increase in custom, and other attractions enjoyed their tills jingling as delegates enjoyed their free time.

Walking along the prom I keep trying to imagine what the bay would be like without the dark finger of pier protruding over the water. Others must have wondered what it would be like after the war when the pier’s length was halved.

There will be those that want to resist change, want to keep the familiar Felixstowe.

But it’s what the town needs to bring business back and inspire others to improve their own facilities, to open new ventures – to give the resort that feelgood factor.