Pier row - tourist chiefs hit back

TOURISM chiefs today hit back at criticism Felixstowe's resort regeneration – claiming major achievments in the past five years.Trustees of the charity behind the failed bid to build a £15 million new mega attraction pier for the seaside town accused Suffolk Coastal of a lack of support and "not thinking big enough".

TOURISM chiefs today hit back at criticism Felixstowe's resort regeneration – claiming major achievments in the past five years.

Trustees of the charity behind the failed bid to build a £15 million new mega attraction pier for the seaside town accused Suffolk Coastal of a lack of support and "not thinking big enough".

Campaigners wanting to save the pier have long been mystified at the council's low-key, almost indifferent, attitude to the project and its failure to push it forward as a top priority.

A council spokesman said it was still hoped a smaller refurbishment project could take place in order to keep the landmark – though those responsible for it claim only a major attraction will be commercially viable.


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He said: "When the trust announced its intention to demolish the pier, the council did suggest that other options could be considered.

"Certainly we understand that the owners of Southwold Pier were willing to meet the trustees to pass on their successful experience and knowledge.

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"The council regretted the termination of the proposals for a new pier and hoped that a less ambitious and perhaps more realistic scheme could be considered."

Through the Resort Regeneration Strategy there had been a number of achievements and improvements in Felixstowe in recent years, including:

n Blue Flag status for its holiday beach;

n success in the Anglia in Bloom competition;

n improved road and pedestrian signs;

n and the launch of the annual Children's Festival.

He said: "The Spa Pavilion Theatre has been refurbished, with works soon to finish at Felixstowe Leisure Centre as well as the relocation of the Tourist Information Centre.

"There has also been other improvements undertaken by various privately operated seafront attractions.

"The role of a resort services co-ordinator has been created and a resort leaflet produced."

But the council is pinning hopes on a massive redevelopment of the 17-acre south seafront site, a project it began in 1985.

The new pier would have featured the world's biggest revolving restaurant, conference centre for 300 delegates, casino, ten-pin bowls, exhibitions and other attractions, generating business for itself, and local shops, restaurants and hotels.

The trust's consultants estimated it would bring 200,000 visitors a year, create 18,000 overnight stays, bringing £4m to the town, including the wages of the pier's 150 employees.

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