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Shortlist for resort's seafront project

PUBLISHED: 14:42 20 August 2001 | UPDATED: 10:26 03 March 2010

TWO firms have been shortlisted to build a multi-million pound Felixstowe seafront development, including a major tourist attraction, it was revealed today.

TWO firms have been shortlisted to build a multi-million pound Felixstowe seafront development, including a major tourist attraction, it was revealed today.

Details of the potential developers are a closely-guarded secret – and it may be many months yet before their proposals are made public.

Councillors are set to interview the

companies interested in creating a maritime heritage attraction on the 17-acre south seafront site next month, and promise they will release details of the proposed schemes as soon as they can.

It is a major step forward for the project, part of the plans to regenerate the seaside resort and which it is hoped will attract thousands of visitors.

Residents living in the resort's West End have seen other developers come and go with nothing happening since

redevelopment of the former beach hut site was first announced 16 years ago.

They want to work with the council, but are keen to see real benefits for their area and will vigorously fight any plans for a

jet-ski launch site or for the demolition of the Herman de Stern building, the former West End Theatre.

The Felixstowe south seafront land sub-committee meets next week to decide whether to give the green light to meeting the potential developers to find out more about their plans.

Suffolk Coastal councillors want a leisure development with a maritime theme which should ideally include a themed feature trail, play equipment, pedestrian and cycleways, toilets, landscaping, car parking, and an outdoor events arena.

In order for the multi-million pound

project to be completed at no further cost to council taxpayers, the council has agreed to the principle of some homes being built so private companies can finance the overall scheme.

"We have now reached the stage where we can find out more about the detailed

proposals from the two major developers interested in the site," said David Smith, chairman of the sub-committee.

"It is, however, still at a commercially confidential stage, so we have no choice but to respect the wishes of our potential

partners and hold any interviews behind closed doors.

"I can reassure all residents that we will say more about what is being proposed as soon as we can. I would also reiterate that any plans for the site would have to involve consultation with the public.

"The proposed interview, which would enable us to examine first-hand the merits of both proposals, could be a massive step towards establishing a partnership that will help regenerate this important part of Felixstowe.

"The next stage would then be for the council to decide which, if any, of the

companies we think should be our sole

partners in the project.

"It will therefore be much later in the year before it becomes clear what the

developers have in mind for the site, and issues like any potential jet ski facilities, or the future of the Herman de Stern building will have to be addressed."

The sub-committee is due to meet on August 29, when it will be asked to agree that councillors, backed up with expert advisors from the council and its external specialist advisers, will meet teams from each of the companies.

People living in the seafront area are not against development – but are concerned about the effects of it on their environment and quality of life.

They do not want a jet-ski launchpad, and believe ways can still be found to save the Victorian Herman de Stern and turn it in to a community building, theatre and arts

complex, despite council assertions that around £40,000 would need to be spent to remove dangerous asbestos and £500,000 spent to convert it.

WEBLINK:

www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

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