Seafront scheme to be looked at again

A PUBLIC inquiry is to be held into a £15 million-plus tourism and housing scheme to regenerate Felixstowe seafront, it was revealed today.Bloor Homes, joint developer of the project with Suffolk Coastal council, has decided to appeal against the decision of the authority's planners to refuse permission for the project.

A PUBLIC inquiry is to be held into a £15 million-plus tourism and housing scheme to regenerate Felixstowe seafront, it was revealed today.

Bloor Homes, joint developer of the project with Suffolk Coastal council, has decided to appeal against the decision of the authority's planners to refuse permission for the project.

It will mean the council fighting against itself at the inquiry to build the venture on 17 acres of seafront land.

Many residents will be unhappy the development partners have not come back with fresh proposals for a scaled-down scheme.


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But others believed an independent inquiry should have been held all along - and is the only fair way to decide what should happen.

The development control sub committee emphatically rejected the scheme last month with members criticising it for not being anything like a "major open-air activity park" their policy expects and having little recreation at all.

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One councillor said a village playing field had more to offer.

It also contravened policy by not securing a new use for renovation of the Martello Tower, failed to retain the Herman de Stern as an arts centre, did not deal with traffic problems it would generate, and the 209 homes proposed could not be considered a "minor" part of the site.

Cabinet member responsible for the south seafront, Andy Smith said he had granted Bloor Homes' request to lodge an appeal.

The proposed development "represented a worthwhile and meaningful achievement of as many of the aims of policy as was realistically possible".

The proposals were approved by cabinet and the finance and management review committee and complied with the council's own design principles.

"The scheme would also have secured funding for the purchase of the remaining property within the project area that was not already owned by the district council," he said.

"The acquisition of the property was vital to the comprehensive development of the project area.

"Finally the proposals provided the realistic potential for further substantial leisure investment, including in the Martello Tower, to clear public benefit.

"They did that in a manner that acknowledged public concerns - principally in the low number of residential units proposed for Manor Terrace."

Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Ninnmey, an opponent of the scheme, said planners had refused it on very good grounds.

"It was turned down on six very firmly laid out reasons and we need to ensure that we don't repeat the same errors on any other scheme which is brought forward," he said.

"We have obviously got to respect the Martello Tower. We have got to retain the Herman de Stern.

"And we have to address the highways difficulties, both parking and roads, and perhaps to do that we need an overall look at the town's public transport needs. The residential element was huge and will also need to be addressed."

As well as homes, the scheme also proposed more gardens, an amphitheatre, restaurant, café, and play areas.

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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