After a number of delays – and a much reduced vision – work on the new pier has finally started.
Community leaders were told the project – understood to be costing around £3million – was due to have got under way last week but one or two last-minute hiccups had caused a delay.
Town clerk Ash Tadjrishi told Felixstowe Town Council that work was now expected to begin on September 26.
He said: “Suffolk Coastal District Council has confirmed that everything is in place from their end while the pier owners have just had to sort out one or two final matters.”
The project has taken a huge amount of planning over the past few years but unfortunately the people of Felixstowe will not be getting a Southwold -type pier as the project has been scaled-down from its original concept, though planners say it will still provide a new landmark and attraction for the resort.
The community has been very vocal in the past about what they would like to see happen with the pier – but the council have always pointed out that because the pier is privately owned they have had minimal input into what the final project will include.
Although at least what remains of the pier itself will not be demolished, however due to the cost it will not be refurbished either – so there will still be no opportunity of walking its length even after the new build is completed.
As for the new pier building – after original plans proposed vast changes including a sea view concert hall and revolving restaurant – it will now only be half the size of what had originally been proposed, but will be slightly larger than the current one and will include retail outlets, restaurant and family entertainments centre – in other words much the same as we have now only smartened up.
According to the owners the reduction in the proposals were purely down to the enormous cost of offshore works.
Demolition of the current building will be the first stage in the project, which will take 36 weeks. The prom will also be raised to link the Pier Bight area to the pier entrance.
One of the last pieces of the jigsaw was to find a temporary home for the pier’s amusement arcade during the year-long construction project.
This will now take over the premises of Sweet Treats and the Thai Hut across the road in Undercliff Road West.
Felixstowe Forward has expressed concern over the temporary loss of two independent traders and say it will be “detrimental to the seafront” although the body accepts the pier development will bring huge long-term benefits.
Suffolk Coastal District Council will be temporarily closing part of the Pier Bight Car Park in Sea Road, Felixstowe, from Thursday, 29 September. The closure is to facilitate the construction work by Pier Amusements for Leisure.
The area of the car park nearest Felixstowe Leisure Centre will be closed to allow it to be used as the compound for the construction work – which is due to last until July 2017.