Resort could face bleak future, warning

FELIXSTOWE residents were warned today they are gambling with the resort's future and protests over a £3.2 million casino could leave it to stagnate and die.

FELIXSTOWE residents were warned today they are gambling with the resort's future and protests over a £3.2 million casino could leave it to stagnate and die.

Their "victory" over the casino and hotel could prove hollow if it puts off other investors as many leisure operators will not relish the prospect of fighting householders and may not bother looking at the town for future development.

In his first interview since the sudden withdrawal of plans for the hotel and casino in the town centre, Patrick Duffy, the man behind the project, said he was "astonished" at the reaction his bold venture received.

"We never envisaged any objections at all and it came as a real surprise to find that people were so concerned," said Mr Duffy, managing director of Palatial Leisure.


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"I was astonished, and I have been left very disappointed. I withdrew the plans because of the opposition.

"We never set out to antagonise anyone and I certainly do not want to do anything which will be against the wishes of the neighbourhood, the residents. But I felt this project was for the benefit of the town."

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Mr Duffy said the failure of the bid to create a "mini resort" on the site of the bingo hall and cinema in Crescent Road had been widely reported by the leisure industry press and would have alerted other investors.

"I think that could be bad news for Felixstowe and could put off other companies who may be looking at the town as a place to invest. Companies want to grow their business, not standstill," he said.

"If Felixstowe wants to remain an Edwardian town, then people will look to grow their business elsewhere and the town will stagnate."

Nearly 200 protests were received from residents and organisations against the casino plan, voicing concerns over gambling, late-night noise and disturbance, more crime, less on-street parking, and ruining life in the town centre.

n. see pages 20 and 21 for a full interview with the man behind the project.

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