Town chiefs back funicular for resort
FELIXSTOWE could get a much-needed cable-car cliff lift as part of the redevelopment of a seafront car park, it was revealed today.Town councillors believe a funicular ride could be provided to link the town and seafront if Convalescent car park is used for a major housing and leisure project.
By Richard Cornwell
FELIXSTOWE could get a much-needed cable-car cliff lift as part of the redevelopment of a seafront car park, it was revealed today.
Town councillors believe a funicular ride could be provided to link the town and seafront if Convalescent car park is used for a major housing and leisure project.
They are asking Suffolk Coastal to include the £1 million hi-tech funicular – which would use a pulley system to take a cable-car up and down the cliff – as part of the policy for allowing a developer to build on the site.
Jim Adams, of Jim and Donna's Barber Shop in Hamilton Road, has been campaigning for a funicular for the past three years.
He was delighted with the town council's recommendation that a lift would be "highly desirable" as a planning gain for the resort for letting a developer take on the land.
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"That is excellent news and I am very pleased the council is supporting it. I suggested the lift was set up near the Spa Pavilion, but it doesn't matter where it is on the seafront – getting people to and from the top of the cliffs is the main objective," said Mr Adams.
He felt sure a developer would not be required to pay all the cost of installing the funicular and National Lottery cash could be available as it would be a community project.
The ride is desperately needed as many people – especially elderly residents and visitors to the town – find it difficult to use both the seafront and town centre because of the steepness of the resort's hills.
Traders in both areas fear they lose out, and believe the ride would encourage visitors to visit all amenities.
Suffolk Coastal has not set a date for developing the Convalescent car park in Undercliff Road West but is looking at what might be built on the land. Town councillors want it developed urgently because of the resort's housing crisis.
In addition to the funicular, town councillors would like to see the development feature leisure uses such as shops or cafes on the ground floor, but not amusement arcades, with a possibly an underground public car park.
Above the leisure uses, sweeping up Convalescent Hill and possibly on Wolsey Gardens, there should be a very high-quality housing development of homes and apartments with sea views.
The council would also like some of the trees on Wolsey Gardens kept, but concern over trees should not be allowed to jeopardise the development.