Parking problems feared from new complex

TOWN centre residents fear roads become car-clogged if a new hotel gets the go-ahead.Planners are recommending the go-ahead for a project to transform Felixstowe's bingo hall and cinema into a £3.

TOWN centre residents fear roads become car-clogged if a new hotel gets the go-ahead.

Planners are recommending the go-ahead for a project to transform Felixstowe's bingo hall and cinema into a £3.2 million hotel, casino and entertainments complex.

But Felixstowe Town Centre Residents' Association is angered by the lack of off-street parking provision.

Association chairman Mary Wyatt said one of the grounds for rejecting a previous scheme for the Palace Bingo, in Crescent Road, had been the detrimental effect on the neighbourhood.

This time planners have ignored 93 letters of objection and a 58-signature petition citing worries over car parking, anti-social behaviour, increased crime and night time disturbance.

The council's head of environmental health also says it should be refused because of the disturbance it will cause to householders living near the complex.

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Mrs Wyatt said: "If this goes through and there is disturbance people will move out of the town centre because it will become a less attractive place to live."

Parking in streets where many homes do not have off-road parking was a major concern for residents.

One project for the town centre was to amend charging arrangements at the Crescent Road car park so it has priority as a short stay car park.

Mrs Wyatt said: "This will clearly impact on the proposed development of the hotel and casino adjacent to this car park."

"No on-site car-parking is included in the plan, with a proposal to use instead the Crescent Road car park.

"Where then will the longer-term hotel visitors park? They will not want to move cars from one car park to another at 10am as current proposals suggest.

"It is a long walk to the Ranelagh Road car park, and it would clearly be detrimental to residential amenity if they were encouraged to park in residential streets.

"What about the people working in the hotel – will they want to walk to and from Ranelagh Road car park?

"Do those who play bingo realise the extra costs for car parking they will most certainly incur?"

The hotel could have 52 guests and 47 full and part-time staff, as well as needing parking for bingo players. The 22 parking spaces on site will be lost and no parking at all will be provided.

Mrs Wyatt said: "These people will need to park in Crescent Road car park, already often full with shoppers and tourists.

"So people will try to park on already congested nearby residential streets or give up and shop elsewhere – again a loss to Felixstowe shops and residents."

In a report to Suffolk Coastal's development control sub committee, which decides the project on Thursday , officers say owners Palatial Leisure will encourage visitors to the hotel and leisure facilities to use Crescent car park rather than park on the streets.

n Would you like to see a £3million entertainment complex spring up in Felixstowe or do you fear it could cause more problems than it solves? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or email EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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