War of words rages
RESIDENTS were today accused of making misleading statements about a multi-million pound project to regenerate a derelict part of Felixstowe.Families have been involved in a war of words with councillors, over the 17-acre south seafront scheme for several months – with some accusing elected representatives of being "arrogant and aloof" and ignoring the public.
By Richard Cornwell
RESIDENTS were today accused of making misleading statements about a multi-million pound project to regenerate a derelict part of Felixstowe.
Families have been involved in a war of words with councillors, over the 17-acre south seafront scheme for several months – with some accusing elected representatives of being "arrogant and aloof" and ignoring the public.
David Smith, cabinet member for the project, decided to speak out after a series of letters on the Evening Star's Your Letters page.
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"What will soon be revealed are plans designed to give the resort a considerable boost in a way that Felixstowe can cope with," he said.
"The proposed recreation and leisure attractions that are aimed at families and people of all age groups will cater for 600 at any one time, and to meet the expected demand nearly 250 new car parking spaces are being provided.
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"It is estimated that we can expect 250,000 visits to the new attractions over a year, which could mean a few million pounds extra being spent by visitors to the resort."
Mr Smith wanted to make it clear that at no time during the council committee meeting which examined a call-in of the project did he state that all Felixstowe's residents associations were happy with the proposals.
"The suggestions made in recent letters are wholly wide of the mark," he said.
"I am fully aware that there is some opposition to this scheme, although I firmly believe it to be limited and coming mainly from the local residents most closely affected.
"Those that have made these accusations appear to have totally misheard what I said during the meeting as I cannot believe they would deliberately want to mislead the public."
Suffolk Coastal wanted to ensure development was of a scale with which the town could cope and that it would be at no cost to council taxpayers.
"I make no apologies for this not being a grandiose over-the-top scheme. There have been many months of hard work to draw up a realistic and deliverable project that will fit in and add to the resort while meeting some of the genuine concerns of residents," he said.
"It has been a lengthy process but that is because we all want to get it right, ensuring that Felixstowe and the district get maximum value-for-money from the scheme. This scheme is central to the long-term future of Felixstowe as a resort. I look forward to hearing the response of the public when the plans are finally submitted by Bloor Homes.
The scheme will be funded by a deal with Bloor Homes which will enable the firm to build 209 homes, 21 of them affordable housing.
Some changes have been made following public comment – including the addition of extra parking, a lower key restaurant/bar, and agreement that beach huts would remain within the development.