Seafront shelter bites the dust

WORK is under way to demolish a seafront shelter which had become a magnet for anti-social behaviour.Contractors working at the site said the Edwardian Long Shelter in Felixstowe's Spa Gardens was so unsteady that much of it came down with little more than pushing by the demolition gang.

WORK is under way to demolish a seafront shelter which had become a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

Contractors working at the site said the Edwardian Long Shelter in Felixstowe's Spa Gardens was so unsteady that much of it came down with little more than pushing by the demolition gang.

The shelter is being replaced with an open-air seated and planted area for family picnics and people to sit and enjoy the sea as part of a £50,000 project.

Town councillors hope that in the long-term funding might be available to create an outdoor performance area.

The Long Shelter, at the bottom of Bath Hill, was one of the original centrepieces of the Felixstowe seaside experience.

It has been a feature of the resort's seafront gardens for nearly 100 years, but has been closed because it has became structurally unsafe with experts worried its arches could collapse.

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Before it was fenced off because of the danger, it had become a haunt for teenage gangs meeting for mischief.

Cabinet member at Suffolk Coastal council, Robert Whiting said the work would create a new peaceful paved area.

“The structural defects mean that the shelter really requires quite substantial rebuilding work and there have also been regular complaints that it had become a magnet for anti-social behaviour,” he said.

“It has left us with little alternative than to demolish it.”

The rear wall next to the chalets will be renovated and a seaside mural has been carved into the new facing.

It is understood the original shelter was built in either 1909 or ten years later, with seven shallow arches each spanning 3.5 metres, supported on six columns, and running along a length of 28 metres - providing a place to shelter on wet and windy days.

The new area will be fully accessible so people in wheelchairs or those pushing buggies or prams.

Planting will include seaside-loving plants such as lavender, rock rose, tamarix and santolina.

What would improve Felixstowe seafront? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk