Protesters in final push

FAMILIES protesting over a £15 million-plus seafront redevelopment will tomorrow night gather for one final push in their bid to get the project rejected.

FAMILIES protesting over a £15 million-plus seafront redevelopment will tomorrow night gather for one final push in their bid to get the project rejected.

A public meeting is to be held at St Edmund's Hall, Langer Road, Felixstowe, at 7.30pm - and organisers hope everyone interested in the scheme will attend.

Suffolk Coastal councillors are set to decide the planning application for the resort's 17-acre south seafront on July 13 and the public meeting will discuss whether any final action needs to be taken in the next three weeks.

Tom Savage, spokesman for the Save Our Soakaway campaign group which is organising the meeting, said: "We want people to come to the meeting with their ideas so we can see if there is any more we can do.


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"We are still pushing for a public inquiry into this development because we believe that will be the fairest way to deal with it.

"It has become critical now. We have councillors who merrily skate through their own policy and ignore it, they are complacent and ignoring the public's views, and we cannot speak at their meetings and are gagged."

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Me Savage said the group was not against some development of the site between Orford Road and the Manor Club but felt the current plan was not leisure-led because it features 200-plus homes, and was an over-development of the land.

"We have heard talk that the council is trying to class the site as brownfield land - that is astonishing. I have lived here 30 years and all that has ever stood on it has been a Martello Tower, the coastguard cottages and beach huts," he said.

"It is open space and as much of it as possible should remain as open space for people to enjoy for recreation."

Suffolk Coastal has received more than 200 objections to the plans, which it is jointly promoting with its chosen partner Bloor Homes.

The scheme is set to feature six acres of housing, car parking, gardens, a pub/restaurant, café, sculptures, play areas, wooden galleon and amphitheatre to regenerate the southern area of the town.

But there has been great concern that councillors will decide an application with which the authority is so heavily involved - as a landowner, promoter of the scheme, and set to make £1 million-plus from a profit-sharing agreement.

Campaigners do not believe the council can make a fair decision and have asked the regional government office to "call in" the application.

n Do you think Suffolk Coastal should decide the plans? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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