Local people are being invited to take part in a survey to have their say on how they want Leisure to look like in Felixstowe in the future – but the question is – are the council willing to listen?
In November 2017, Suffolk Coastal District Council published its Felixstowe Leisure Vision document, and the District Council has also embarked on a five-year programme to redevelop all its leisure centres. Work has already begun on the Deben Leisure Centre in Woodbridge and preparations are in hand to start redeveloping Leiston in the autumn.
Felixstowe’s is due to be revamped within the next five years – but although the most sensible option would be to re develop the current Leisure Centre on the seafront and improve Brackenbury on the High Rd – both well used and popular sites, the council, for reasons which include making as much money as they can from lucrative land and flogging off yet more of our prime open spaces, seem to think it would be a much better idea to build on Eastwood Ho! along with a huge housing development.
There is no doubt that local people seem to have very little influence in these matters – witness the desecration of land at Ferry Lane at the moment for instance – and the increasingly snarl up of traffic movement that will entail after a huge campaign by local residents to stop this going ahead – like wise Walton and the Trimleys which will soon be overrun with new housing development.
However – if we don’t give our view the council will say that there were no objections. So I urge you – whenever there is a survey such as this – please give your views. If enough of us make a noise perhaps we will be heard eventually.
The existing Felixstowe Leisure Centre was built in 1985 on the site of the much loved Pier Pavilion after years of campaigning and fundraising by local people for an indoor pool on the seafront. Unfortunately it wasn’t designed particularly well – and the hall – which should have been multipurpose and was built with dressing rooms in the basement – was soon found to be limited in its use. Brackenbury Leisure Centre, has been operated by the Council from the 1990’s.
According to the council both facilities are in need of significant money to be spent on them to maintain their current offer. But why not then just do that? Tourists and residents alike want somewhere to take the kids when its too wet to go on the beach – where better than somewhere on the seafront? Older residents want an easily accessible pool to keep fit or just enjoy. There are plenty of private gyms in town. What would be useful is a bigger hall to hold dance fit, yoga and Pilates classes etc as well as music and drama performances. What we probably don’t want is out of town ‘state of the art’ facilities -whatever those are – built on precious open space where we have to get in our cars to access them creating more pollution, carbon footprints and traffic congestion.
Apparently the latest survey is just the first of many. I will leave it to Councillor TJ Haworth Cuff to give her impression of what the point of this particular survey is:
“We want to bring state-of-the-art leisure facilities to Felixstowe. This consultation focussed on ‘what’ people want, rather than ‘where’ they should be located.”
“No decisions have been made at this stage about where we want to focus the leisure facilities in Felixstowe, although the Felixstowe Leisure Vision document does show the potential from a development point of view.”
“However, at this initial stage before any decisions are made, we need to know what leisure facilities local people would like to see and how they would like to use them.”
“The Felixstowe development provides an opportunity to explore all the options to provide an exciting leisure centre that will serve both Felixstowe and be a destination facility within the district.
“However, this is just the start of a long conversation with local people about what they want and how we can deliver the best leisure centre possible within an affordable budget.”
“I would encourage people to get actively involved in this process and help shape the next generation of leisure facilities in the area. Please take the time to complete this survey, as your views are important to us to help us provide Felixstowe with truly exciting leisure facilities that are fit for the future.”
The consultation was launched on Monday, 19 February 2018, and will run until the end of April 2018. The survey is available at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/felixstoweleisurecentre
Anyone wanting to provide further comments, such as sports or community organisation with specific requirements or issues to highlight, should email the Leisure Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Further details of the leisure review are available at: www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/leisure