Exciting ideas to breathe new life into neglected seafront area get £950k boost
PUBLISHED: 16:33 24 March 2019
Felixstowe is to receive £950,000 towards a £1.78m venture to regenerate the southern part of the resort.
The money is coming from the Coastal Communities Fund following a successful grant application from Suffolk Coastal District Council.
The aim of the key improvement scheme is to enhance the south seafront and provide a vibrant visitor destination as an anchor for wider development.
It will add considerably to the strength and popularity of this area as a destination, in combination with the Martello Tower P and Martello Park.
The project will also deliver improved access and community use of the recently restored Grade II-listed Napoleonic tower and will develop a business support package for new start-up businesses and existing businesses in the area.
A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal said: “What fantastic news this announcement is for Felixstowe just as we are moving into the Easter break and the start of the 2019 season. It was a team effort all round and credit goes to everyone who worked on the application.
“It’s particularly good news as seafront businesses in the area have long championed the need for investment and this will give them confidence in the months ahead that the area will get the uplift it deserves.”
The £1.78m venture follows huge investment in recent years which has included the reopening of the Spa Pavilion, a £3m pier head entertainments centre, and opening of Martello Park in a £25m homes project, along with the refurbishment of the Fludyers as a boutique hotel and upmarket restaurant, the opening of the new Viewing Point cafe and restoration of the Bartlet Hospital as apartments.
The grant aid will go towards work put forward by Suffolk Coastal and Felixstowe Forward for a facelift which would see the gardens between the sea walls in Sea Road transformed into a “series of rooms”, a concept which divides them into a run of very different areas with different characters and functions.
These could include a place to play, a dune garden to lounge and rest in, a place to meet, formal gardens, a play, landscape and sculpture garden for families, a ‘parklet’ picnic area, and an artisan street featuring pop-up shops and eating places, possibly housed in converted shipping containers.
Tourism chiefs say: “Each space should have a different character and function and should be exciting places to encounter, drawing pedestrians along the promenade and providing opportunity for gathering, seating, socialising and events.”
The exciting ideas are linked to plans for a new beachside cafe and exhibition space on the adjoining Martello Park, and options being examined for the Martello Tower itself.
More than 70 projects up and down the British coast have been awarded a total of over £36 million from the Government fund to help develop and improve tourist attractions, create jobs and promote socio-economic growth.
This latest investment represents awards from the fifth round of the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund and the third phase of the Coastal Revival Fund in 2018/19. It comes on top of over £180 million from both funds invested in more than 350 projects so far across the UK.
Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire said: “I am determined to support investment and development of our coastal communities across the East of England and create an economy that works for everyone as we prepare for Brexit and beyond.
“All of the ambitious projects receiving funding today were designed and developed by local people who know what will make the biggest difference to their areas.
“The sheer range of ideas demonstrate the potential of our coastal communities and will all create good jobs, boost growth and improve people’s lives now and in the future.”
Coastal Communities Minister Jake Berry MP added: “This is an investment in the future of our coastal communities which builds on their rich heritage and huge potential.
“The world-class attractions and innovative businesses supported by the Coastal Community Fund and the Coastal Revival Fund will increase tourism, encourage investment and ensure people thrive up and down the Great British Coast.”