Is Felixstowe going to get its Blue Flag back this summer?
PUBLISHED: 21:34 01 March 2020 | UPDATED: 21:34 01 March 2020
A seaside resort is aiming to be the only one in Suffolk to hold a prestigious Blue Flag this summer – 10 years after it last held the award.
Felixstowe - the only resort in the county to be accredited with "excellent" water quality off its beaches according to UK and European standards - is aiming to win a Blue Flag for its Pier and South Beach and a Seaside Award.
It did hold a Blue Flag for a decade but in 2010 the then Suffolk Coastal council decided it was becoming too expensive to enter for the award with the ever-growing list of criteria costing too much for the work involved each year.
Instead the council decided to invest its resources in events and attractions to bring more people to the seaside and boost the resort's economy.
But Keep Britain Tidy has relaxed some of the criteria for the international award and Felixstowe has entered again.
If successful, it would be one of 71 Blue Flags in the UK and the only one in Suffolk.
Felixstowe Town Council agreed to use money from its enhancement and promotion budget to enter and to seek the support of East Suffolk Council.
A report to the town council said the aim was to "build on the momentum of promoting Felixstowe as a destination, and cross-promotion of visitor related activity",
Felixstowe Forward, together with officers and members of the town council carried out research into the possibility of applying for a Blue Flag, which is awarded to well managed beaches with excellent water quality and environmental education programmes, and/or Seaside Award, presented to the best beaches in England to celebrate the quality and diversity of our coastline.
Blue Flag beaches must meet a range of criteria relating to information, water quality which must be rated excellent, environmental management, safety and services.
A meeting with Keep Britain Tidy found the resort already had most of what is required to 'pass' the criteria in place, including consistently 'excellent' water quality plus recycling bins, appropriate access to the beach, toilets, required 'educational activities', leaflets etc.
Two new signs would be required at either end of the award area which is likely to run from Felixstowe Town Hall in Undercliff Road West to the Sea Road/Arwela Road area.
A beach assistant previously needed was no longer required and while Felixstowe does not have a Lifeguard service these days, its beaches are considered following an inspection to be a 'lower-medium' risk.
The council is currently waiting for feedback on its entry from Keep Britain Tidy and should hear whether it has the flag award in the spring.