Viewing area could collapse into sea
By RICHARD CORNWELLrichard.firstname.lastname@example.org>PART of one of Felixstowe's biggest tourist attractions has been cordoned off for safety reasons, amid fears that it could collapse into the sea.
By Richard Cornwell
By RICHARD CORNWELL
PART of one of Felixstowe's biggest tourist attractions has been cordoned off for safety reasons, amid fears that it could collapse into the sea.
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One-third of the John Bradfield Viewing Area has been sealed off with 7ft-high steel mesh fencing after an area of promenade nearby was smashed and swept into the sea after being pounded by huge waves.
Council chiefs ordered the fencing to be put in place to stop cars parking on the front row of the port viewing area, which is visited by 500,000 people a year.
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It is feared that if the erosion which has undermined defences in front of Landguard Fort was to spread, any cars parked on the edge could be in danger and even fall into the harbour next to Landguard container terminal.
Twenty car parking spaces are currently out of action while council engineers assess the extent of the problem.
People can still walk on the prom in front of the car parking, where there are information boards and a monument.
The situation has been closely monitored by the Port of Felixstowe in recent weeks and its officials say the beach level appears to be recovering.
However, further monitoring will take place for the next two weeks at least to ensure there is no risk to the public.
Doreen Savage, chairman of the Felixstowe Resort Regeneration Forum said: "We have all worked very hard this year to re-establish the foot-ferry link between Harwich, Shotley and Landguard and help people to enjoy Landguard and at each turn we have had to face problems.
"The damage caused by the winter storms and the drop in beach levels has been the latest and most serious setback but we are all determined to overcome it."
The viewing area was built in 1992 at a cost of £86,000 and is regarded by well-travelled shipwatchers as the best in Europe.
It features a 60-space car park with prom, seats, and information boards, and replaced a scrubby bit of shore which had parking for just half a dozen cars.
Meanwhile repairs English Heritage are planning repairs to river wall which has collapsed in front of the fort and where steel mesh fencing had already been put up to stop the public getting onto the concrete walkway.
Heavy seas have battered sheet piling and pulled it away from the concrete wall, and have then sucked material out from beneath it.