Pier dream of Felixstowe man

PUBLISHED: 21:35 27 May 2002 | UPDATED: 12:00 03 March 2010

FELIXSTOWE man Mark Dunt is standing on the threshold of a dream – to take over the town's crumbling pier and turn it into a new tourist attraction.

poss Felix Star splash for Wednesday May 22

with pic, taken May 21

FELIXSTOWE man Mark Dunt is standing on the threshold of a dream – to take over the town's crumbling pier and turn it into a new tourist attraction.

He is hoping to persuade the charitable trust which owns the landmark not to demolish it, and to let him develop it instead.

Mr Dunt believes it could be successfully refurbished to become a low-key attraction with new features, similar to the new pier at Southwold and one which would be more appropriate to Felixstowe than a £15 million mega-complex.

He has already spoken to a bank about possible finance, and to council officers about his ideas and possible help with grant aid applications.

"I can see why the trust would want to build a revolving restaurant, casino and so on, but that is not what the people of Felixstowe appear to want," said Mr Dunt, of Orwell Green, Felixstowe.

"It would not fit in with Felixstowe – we are not that kind of resort. But people do not want to lose the pier because it is part of our history.

"I am baffled why the trust thinks a £15m scheme is the only answer and why it will not look at other smaller projects. If it demolishes the pier, then it loses everything – it has nothing.

"I would love to take it over if the trust has no further use for it, find new trustees and see if there is support for different scheme."

Mr Dunt believes the pier should be repaired and made safe, have more sideshows and kiosks, a bar and restaurant on it, and be opened up for anglers to use again with equipment hire for people to try fishing.

"A pier can still be a really attractive part of a resort, but you need motivation to use it," he said.

"It's fine going out there for a walk, but how often will people do that? But going out there for a walk and possibly a drink or food in a café with sea views all around, that would be motivation, something to do.

"I have spoken to a bank about possible finance, and a building company about the plan, and I have also spoken to officers at Suffolk Coastal council.

"The council was very supportive and encouraging and this was the type of development they would welcome. They would be more than willing to discuss it in detail and help to find funding sources."

Other people in the town are also calling for the pier to be saved, and a petition has been launched at Castaway fishing tackle, Undercliff Road West.

Pier trust secretary Norman Thompson invited Mr Dunt to contact the trust to discuss his ideas, but he stressed that the pier could not be repaired.

"It is beyond repair and has been condemned. It has to be demolished and rebuilding it as a pier for fishing and promenading would cost £3m and that would not be commercially viable or regenerate the resort," he said.

"Felixstowe needs an attraction which will bring people here to spend money – that's what regeneration is about."

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star