Seafront scheme gets thumbs-down

PUBLISHED: 19:12 07 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:52 03 March 2010

ANGRY residents today spoke of their disgust at the lack of leisure attractions in a new multi-million pound tourist development for Felixstowe – and vowed to fight the project.

ANGRY residents today spoke of their disgust at the lack of leisure attractions in a new multi-million pound tourist development for Felixstowe – and vowed to fight the project.

Householders say there are too many homes proposed for the 17-acre seafront site and not enough to benefit existing residents or attract visitors to the town.

The scheme features 175 new homes – which could make the developers a profit of a cool £35 million – with an ampitheatre for outdoor concerts, a timber galleon, and children's play areas the main leisure attractions.

"People are pretty disgusted and very angry," said Doreen Rayner, chairman of the West End of Felixstowe Residents' Association.

"We cannot see how this will benefit existing residents. And we cannot see how this will help regenerate the resort – people might come once, but will they keep coming back again and again?

"There is far too much housing and that is the carrot being dangled by the council to get this site developed.

"When you take out the housing and the car parks which we must have, there is only about two or three acres left for recreation and yet this is a recreation site. It is on the deeds and people buying houses here have been told that when they have made searches.

"We are speaking to our own experts and will be pursuing a number of matters. We are not going to sit back and take this."

Residents are also concerned at the proposal to demolish the Herman de Stern, the former West End Theatre, and replace it with yet another pub and restaurant, taking more business away from established traders.

Mrs Rayner said WEFRA remained concerned about the low-lying nature of the site and the risk of flooding, despite the council saying there was a one in 200 year chance of its being flooded.

"Who knows when the next North Sea surge will come? No-one can predict that and this is putting people at risk in an area where the sea already overtops the sea wall in winter," she said.

Suffolk Coastal council and Bury St Edmunds-based Bloor Homes have teamed up to create the maritime-themed attraction to be built on the south seafront, next to the prom between Orford Road and the Manor Club.

The council says the new homes, which will include exclusive apartments with sea views in a curved marina-style block and also 17 affordable homes, are essential to pay for the recreational facilities.

David Smith, cabinet member leading on the project, said: "These are not intended to be the final plans, nor will it be the last chance for people to make an input on the ultimate scheme.

"This will be an opportunity for people to help shape the scheme before the developers come back with a planning application when local residents will be formally consulted."

The plans are on display in Felixstowe Leisure Centre, which will be the venue at 7pm tomorrow for a public meeting on the scheme.

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