Parking or park – which would you rather see?

AM I the only person in Felixstowe who thinks turning Hamilton Gardens into a clifftop park actually sounds like a really rather wonderful idea?

Yes, I know there is no money available to carry out such a project and that it will never happen.

And of course Guy Gredley, the director of Landro Ltd who submitted the planning application for the park scheme, has a vested interest – a landscaped park area would be a fine look-out for the occupants of the posh apartments he wants to create in Cliff House and on the land alongside, rather than a string of parked cars.

But I have felt horribly out of kilter by the way such an imaginative and grand vision has been dismissed and attacked by some of our leading community figures.

The town council is “vehemently and strongly” against the idea, and mayor Doreen Savage said it was “ridiculous”, a “rubbish idea”.

It seemed an amazing amount of vitriol to pour onto a project which would create a stunning clifftop entrance to the soon-to-be-refurbished Spa Gardens, an attractive open space overlooking the sea, and a better outlook for all the residents of Hamilton Gardens.

In fact, it is the first time anyone has actually come up with a radical and creative change for our town for sometime.

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One of the town council’s reasons for opposition is that the road – which would vanish from the map if Mr Gredley’s scheme was ever carried out – is an important route across town.

In reality, Hamilton Gardens is a narrow road with a constant line of parked cars and not enough room for two-way traffic – very rarely do you drive it without pulling in to a passing bay or waiting while an oncoming car mounts the pavement.

It is not a through route, and not used by people to get across town.

It is not a busy road. Residents all have rear vehicle access.

If it disappeared, the traffic would go down dull Brownlow Road – which runs parallel – instead.

The same route, just one street back from the cliff. No big difficulty at all.

In fact, Brownlow Road has only a handful of homes compared with Hamilton Gardens.

Loss of the on-street parking in Hamilton Gardens – also pinpointed by the council – would be painful (though Brownlow Road could take extra spaces, and it also has a car park with lots of empty spaces daily).

The park scheme is never going to happen but if we want to modernise and improve our town we shouldn’t be so quick to bin new ideas.

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