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Felixstowe: Fears voiced that it could be months before work resumes on seafront gardens restoration project

15:00 18 September 2013

The current state of the seafront gardens

The current state of the seafront gardens

Unhappy seafront residents fear it could be months before any more work is done on Felixstowe’s famous gardens after community leaders terminated the contract for a £2.76million restoration project.

Developement work has stoped on the Felixstowe Gardens Project after a dispute between Suffolk Costal and the companyDevelopement work has stoped on the Felixstowe Gardens Project after a dispute between Suffolk Costal and the company

Suffolk Coastal’s decision followed a six-week dispute with the main contractor P Casey (Land Reclamation) Ltd during which work was halted.

Trevor Howard, a member of the Bent Hill and Seafront Area Residents’ Association, said: “Clearly the contract wasn’t specified correctly in the first place.

“It seems like some really bad mistakes have been made on this contract.

“I suspect we will get next to nothing now – just the basics when the council gets a new contractor in place, which is a great shame having secured more than £2.5m for the scheme.

“It has been a right mess all summer and I cannot imagine they are going to do this procurement very quickly.

“They will have to re-specify the whole contract and put it out to tender, which could take three months. It could be next spring before see any more work done.”

The project began in mid-May and aimed to restore the nationally-important Edwardian and Victorian gardens to their former glory, including refurbishing historic shelters, ponds and walls, planting of low-maintenance grasses, shrubs and trees, a new contemporary-design shelter, plus a heritage trail.

Good early progress was made on some of the preparation for hard landscaping works and then residents noticed a slowdown in the work with less men on site.

On July 25, Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member for leisure and economic development Geoff Holdcroft said “contractual issues” had arisen on the project and the matter had been put into the hands of the authority’s lawyers.

The council has now terminated the contract, alleging breach of contract. Details of the issues in the dispute have not been made public by either party.

Now, subject to Heritage Lottery Fund approval, the council will embark on a process to identify a new contractor to carry out the restoration work.

The scheme A spokeswoman for the Casey Group said the company would not be commenting on the matter.

5 comments

  • Another let down for Felixstowe. No doubt a poorly specified contracttender by Suffolk Coastal District Council. This will now cost taxpayers a fortune to put right and then there is the ongoing loss for Felixstowe residents and businesses while we all wait months for it to be put right. I think the Town of Felixstowe deserves a proper explanationtotal transparency on what has happened here.

    Report this comment

    JJStowe

    Thursday, September 19, 2013

  • Seems to me that local authorities now seem to deliberately and cynically let their assets fall into disrepair, and then apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund to bring them back up to standard.

    Report this comment

    Erm, Why?

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

  • What attractions will our once beautiful busy sea front be able to offer visitors next year? A closed theatre, run down gardens (which at the moment are themed as a building site), a disused boating lake and a scruff hedge that is only trimmed at the end of the season? Is this part of the wider planner to revamp the whole area? The whole Spa site could be used to build luxury sea view flats. Too many fails for my likening.

    Report this comment

    Marc James

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

  • As ever a stunning lack of transparency and accountability from Suffolk coastal DC. They appear to operate in a parallel universe where they can undertake esoteric debates with themselves consistently achieving nothing for the town. What a shower.

    Report this comment

    paul

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

  • What attractions will our once beautiful busy sea front be able to offer visitors next year? A closed theatre, run down gardens (which at the moment are themed as a building site), a disused boating lake and a scruff hedge that is only trimmed at the end of the season? Is this part of the wider planner to revamp the whole area? The whole Spa site could be used to build luxury sea view flats. Too many fails for my likening.

    Report this comment

    Marc James

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

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