Resort's OAP centre to be replaced
FELIXSTOWE'S much-loved and well-used senior citizens' centre is to be demolished and replaced with a brand new modern one.After months of discussions about the future of the century-old centre in Orwell Road, town councillors have agreed to enter into a partnership project for an exciting redevelopment set to cost a six-figure sum.
FELIXSTOWE'S much-loved and well-used senior citizens' centre is to be demolished and replaced with a brand new modern one.
After months of discussions about the future of the century-old centre in Orwell Road, town councillors have agreed to enter into a partnership project for an exciting redevelopment set to cost a six-figure sum.
The scheme will provide a new day centre with modern facilities for the elderly, with Orwell Housing Association building four flats on the two floors above to provide some desperately-needed social housing in the town centre.
Town clerk Susan Robinson said the current day centre had reached the end of its life and a lot of expensive structural repairs were needed.
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"We have got to the stage where a huge amount of money needs to be spent and if the repairs were done we would almost certainly be faced with doing more expensive work on it in a few years' time," said Mrs Robinson.
"Councillors decided this was a situation which could be turned into an opportunity to provide a new building of high quality for the future for our older residents along with social housing, which it is very difficult to provide in the town centre.
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"The new centre will be the same size but will be updated with modern facilities which can be used by the wider community, including groups and clubs, outside the day centre's hours, such as evenings and weekends.
"A great deal of work has gone into the design, working with Orwell Housing and consulting with the day centre organisers, to ensure that it includes and will meet everyone's needs.
"We believe it will be a really nice building for the town and one which the council and the residents can be proud of."
The current wood-clad day centre only has one upstairs room which it has not been possible to use in recent times. Along with its structural problems, it also does not meet the requirements of new legislation for the disabled.
The town council's biggest problem at present is its wish to continue to have the day centre open while the new building is constructed – and it is searching for alternative temporary premises.
It is hoped to start work on the project early in the New Year though planning permission still has to be gained and tenders arranged for the work.
The scheme is another boost for Orwell Road, which has recently been the subject of a town centre management plan enhancement scheme and has also seen the opening of a £1m state-of-the-art new doctors' surgery and pharmacy.