New visitor centre could be a real asset for resort

Felixstowe Mayor and consort Jan and Jon Garfield with councillors Doreen Savage and Graham Newman e

Felixstowe Mayor and consort Jan and Jon Garfield with councillors Doreen Savage and Graham Newman enjoying fish and chips at the new Landguard visitor centre.

Some good news for a change in Felixstowe – with two milestones to mark this week.

After years of design work, consultation and preparation, contractors have at long last started on the renovation of the seafront gardens.

It’s just a week since they started and already swathes of garden have been ripped out, cut and chopped.

The £2.76million project is going to take a year and everyone who walks the prom will have a front row view of the transformation.

It is such a shame it has been allowed to start without the future of the Spa Pavilion decided. Knowing the rate councils work – the south seafront took 29 years – it could be boarded up and unused for some time to come.

Meanwhile, at the viewing area at Landguard, the new visitor centre opens today.

I was among those privileged to enjoy a sneak preview of the building.

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It keeps getting called the temporary visitor centre because one day – probably not for a decade – when the Port of Felixstowe expands again, the whole of the viewing area will be rebuilt and a new permanent centre created.

But while it may be a portable building, the finish, flooring and furnishings inside are of top quality and when you step in it does not feel temporary at all.

There are the much-needed toilets, an exhibition area, and the restaurant, which inside and outside has superb views across the harbour.

Felixstowe’s Mr Restaurant Tim Yeo – who runs the Bencotto, Alex and Fludyer Arms – is running it and so you know the food and drink will be first-class.

I think it’s going to be a real goldmine.

It has the potential to be very busy indeed and a big asset for Felixstowe.