Although the idea was only recently touted at a public meeting – and there it was insisted that this was early days and a full consultation process would be gone through – a planning application for a proposed development of a new beach front café on Martello Park has already been submitted by Suffolk Coastal District Council to itself!
The proposal sets out plans for a new beach café and meeting events area ‘the design of which will be based around strong coastal themes and sympathetically balances its sensitive location whilst also being an iconic visual draw to this area’.
Now there is no doubt that the South Seafront area needs regeneration – its been neglected for many years. But at this meeting in July there were a number of proposals – one of which was to knock down the Leisure Centre and replace it with a new sports facility on land at Eastward Ho. The view of many local residents is that this isn’t the right place for such a facility as it involves building on AONB land and further more would not bring people into Felixstowe. The more likely scenario is that a huge housing estate would be built alongside it – and with food outlets etc would take trade away from the town centre and the seafront.
A much more sensible proposal would be to build the new centre on Martello Park, thus keeping it on the seafront while regenerating the West End of Felixstowe and keeping tourists coming into the centre – and building it ideally on this very piece of land the council are proposing for their new café.
SCDC states: ‘The proposal was drawn up after an engagement event was held by us with Felixstowe Forward, in July to seek the views of local people about plans for Felixstowe’s future.’
But the proposal was obviously presented as a fete accompli at this meeting – which was held during the day at time when many local people could not attend due to work commitments etc.
Cllr Geoff Holdcroft, Suffolk Coastal’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economic Development, said: “This is one of those rare occasions where the Council is the developer, and just like other developers, we need to go through the democratic planning process.
“A lot is happening in Felixstowe at the moment, and Suffolk Coastal has invested a lot in revitalising the town. We believe it is vital that we continue to build on this investment and create developments that benefit local people and visitors to the area.”
‘The proposed area for the development has been designated for a café since the first planning approval in 2009 and again in the implemented 2012 proposals. Although it was not part of the planning permission at the time, it formed a part of the masterplan for the housing developments and Martello Park. ‘
First I’ve heard of it! Or anybody else I suspect.
It’s not too late to give your views. Write to your councillor or Helen Greengrass of Felixstowe Forward at The Town Hall.
To view the planning application, go to: https://publicaccess.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/online-applications/ and search for ‘DC/18/3173/FUL’.
A CGI video to illustrate the proposal has also been uploaded on SCDC’s YouTube channel. To view, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2P6NxcVBWk&feature=youtu.be