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Probe to see if pier bid holds water

PUBLISHED: 16:17 25 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:23 03 March 2010

TOURISM chiefs are studying new information to see if the £15 million proposal for a new pier at Felixstowe is anything like watertight.

TOURISM chiefs are studying new information to see if the £15 million proposal for a new pier at Felixstowe is anything like watertight.

Neither Suffolk County Council or Suffolk Coastal council have yet pledged to help the ambitious project which could give the resort and the region an enormous economic boost.

Supporters say it would provide Suffolk with its first mega-attraction and have regional, if not national, pulling-power for visitors.

The two councils have been asked to give £10,000 each towards a £50,000 feasibility study.

The Felixstowe Pier Trust said it had received a pledge of £20,000 from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and £10,000 from a private backer towards the study, needed to get National Lottery chiefs and other grant-giving organisations to support the venture.

Following what was described as a constructive meeting between all parties, a report is now to be drawn up for district councillors.

"Suffolk County Council and ourselves have been approached to help fund the study and clearly we require detailed information before we can commit public funds to such a study," said councillor Ray Herring, leader of Suffolk Coastal.

"Suffolk Coastal was asked for £10,000 and we asked for more information to enable us to make a decision.

"Now we have written details from the Trust, officers will be reviewing it to see if this could realistically add up to the major catalyst for the regeneration of Felixstowe and East Anglia that the Pier Trust claims it will be.

"What this council and its partners are looking for is evidence that the £15m complex is achievable and that the funding can be attracted.

"A report will be presented to councillors and I hope that the facts are there to help us make a decision to back this potentially massive project."

Pier trust secretary Norman Thompson said: "We confirmed to the councils that we have now been promised financial support from EEDA together with additional input from private sources.

"The support of the two major councils would ensure an early start to employing suitable consultants to carry out detailed studies now required. We had a useful meeting with the councils to seek their early support in completing the financial package necessary to pursue the next steps.

"The trustees hoped that the further information now available would ensure that the project was kept alive, and that steps could be taken to pursue the trust's objectives to provide for the regeneration of Felixstowe."

The attraction would replace the resort's crumbling century-old landmark, which – apart from the amusements at its entrance – is closed to the public because it is dangerous and could collapse in a storm.

The new pier could be five-deck with a revolving restaurant, 200 yards long, 200 ft wide instead of the current 25ft, and about 92,000 sq ft in area.

It could feature shops, a family entertainment centre, casino, bars, an exhibition hall, landing stage for pleasure boats, and even a lighthouse.

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