Seafront delays could last years

FEARS have been voiced that delays to a development to regenerate part of Felixstowe seafront could last years.

FEARS have been voiced that delays to a development to regenerate part of Felixstowe seafront could last years.

Liberal Democrats on Suffolk Coastal say the Conservative-controlled council's agreement to allow its preferred development partner to put the £25 million project on hold is against government recession policy.

Bloors have been permitted to abandon a start on the project - involving 158 new homes and a maritime park - until March 2010.

Councillor Mike Ninnmey said: “It could be longer than that - after all these years of negotiations, no contract has been signed and the developers could still walk away if they wanted.

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“If Bloors do not want to start work, then the council might be better off talking to another developer and looking at another scheme.”

David Miller, vice chairman of Suffolk Coastal Liberal Democrats, said the council was ignoring government policy which actively encourages public projects to be brought forward to deal with the current economic downturn.

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Publicly-funded sea defence work - costing £10m - had also been carried out to allow the 17-acre south seafront project to begin.

Development would provide a large number of construction industry jobs and trade for many supply firms - just what the government is keen should happen.

“Liberal Democrat councillors oppose this move by the council and have suggested that Bloor's should be held to their commitment to commence site development,” said Mr Miller.

Houses on the land should not be left to rot but be used for temporary social housing, he added.

Suffolk Coastal cabinet member Robert Whiting said the council was disappointed but Bloors' request for a delay was “understandable and reasonable” in the current economic downturn.

“Bloors remain fully committed to developing this site and want to proceed at the appropriate time,” he said.

The council would be looking at possible uses of the land on a temporary basis for the next 18 months or so.

Do you think the council should seek an alternative development or sit it out until the economy improves? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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