Seafront announcement imminent

AFTER 20 years of waiting, firm proposals for Felixstowe's last remaining undeveloped seafront site are today "imminent".Town council officials have been told that a planning application is expected very soon – and are now busy organising a meeting in the town at which people will be able to give their views.

By Richard Cornwell

AFTER 20 years of waiting, firm proposals for Felixstowe's last remaining undeveloped seafront site are today "imminent".

Town council officials have been told that a planning application is expected very soon - and are now busy organising a meeting in the town at which people will be able to give their views.

Suffolk Coastal council and its partner Bloor Homes is to develop the 17-acre south seafront - between Orford Road and the Manor Club - with housing and some leisure attractions.

Many residents in the area are opposed to the scheme, especially the use of the land in Manor Terrace, which acts as a soakaway when water overtops the sea walls in the area, which is designated as a flood plain.

There is also growing concern about the future of the Martello Tower and a cold war underground bunker on the land.

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Town clerk Susan Robinson said the town council had been advised that the planning application is "imminent".

It had been decided that recommendations on the project should be made by full council and a meeting was being fixed for mid-March at a venue, which has not been decided yet, as close to the south seafront as possible.

This would allow the public to attend and the plan was to allow residents to ask questions and give their views at the start of the meeting before councillors begin discussing the scheme. Speakers would be time limited.

"We appreciate that there will be a great interest in these plans and we want to make the meeting as accessible as possible," said Mrs Robinson.

"The council wants to be as open, democratic and transparent as it possibly can in dealing with this matter."

As soon as the date and venue are fixed, the meeting will be given wide publicity.

Because eight members of the council - more than half - would be prevented from speaking because of their involvement with the scheme at Suffolk Coastal, an application has been made for dispensation to allow them to take part.

The scheme is expected to feature 200 new homes, gardens, ampitheatre, wooden galleon, beach café, pub/restaurant and car parks.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal said an application had not been received yet.

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