Radical re-think call for seafront site

FAMILIES, businesses and other interested groups should be given a greater say if new proposals have to be drawn up for a prime Felixstowe seafront site.

FAMILIES, businesses and other interested groups should be given a greater say if new proposals have to be drawn up for a prime Felixstowe seafront site.

The idea for greater local involvement in the multi-million pound tourism project is being suggested by town councillors to try to overcome the problems which have beset the current £15 million-plus scheme and find a way forward.

Meanwhile, Suffolk Preservation Society director Richard Ward has called for a "radical rethink" and not a tinkering with the plans rejected last month by Suffolk Coastal planners.

He said the Herman de Stern centre should be retained, the Martello Tower protected, and the project must not be so reliant on housing to fund it.

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Felixstowe Town Council's plans committee held a brainstorming session following a suggestion from a resident that a public forum should be set up to look at what should be built on the 17-acre south seafront site.

It was felt a forum was not the best idea, but a town council working party which could co-opt expert help - such as members of residents' associations, conservation groups or businesses - could be an idea worth considering.

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An alternative was to see if Suffolk Coastal would be prepared to allow outsiders, such as town councillors or businessmen, to sit on its working party to look at future possibilities for the land.

However, both ideas would depend on whether the district council was prepared to enter into partnership with the community and listen to its views and take them on board - otherwise there was no point in doing the work.

The committee decided town clerk Susan Robinson should speak informally with senior officers at Suffolk Coastal to explore the ideas and report back.

Meeting chairman Mike Stokell said it was important a way was found to move the project forward.

He said: "We have got to take the bull by the horns in some way and start the ball rolling. It is an important project for the whole town and important that we get whatever goes on the land right for the residents of the town and Manor Terrace.

"A solution has to be found. Not everyone will be happy with the solution because we will never all agree with what is best for that site.

"But we need to make more people happy than they were with the current plan and present a package which will suit more people than it will upset - and I am not knocking Suffolk Coastal when I say that."

Bloor Homes, joint developer of the project with Suffolk Coastal, has been granted permission to appeal and a public inquiry could be held. However, the company has not yet decided whether to appeal or submit amended plans.

n What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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