Felixstowe: Companies bid for gardens completion contract

Work has been halted on the renovation of Felixstowe's seafront gardens.

Work has been halted on the renovation of Felixstowe's seafront gardens. - Credit: Archant

Seventeen different companies expressed an interest in taking on the completion of the £2.76million project to refurbish Felixstowe’s nationally-important seafront gardens.

Suffolk Coastal cabinet member for customers, communities and leisure, TJ Haworth, said of those firms, four completed the pre-qualification documents – and these will now be considered in detail by officers.

She said: “It was disappointing that we were forced to terminate the previous contract, but that is in the past.

“We need to move on and look to the future.

“Now all our effort is focused on the new procurement process to identify the best contractor to carry out the work needed to complete this important project.

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“The gardens sit at the heart of Felixstowe’s seafront and, once completed, they will become the natural centrepiece among the number of developments and improvements we are working to bring into Felixstowe.”

Work on site will not start until May next year – meaning the scheme will be a year behind schedule.

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Suffolk Coastal council began legal action against P Casey (Land Reclamation) Ltd after it alleged the company was in breach of contract, following an independent legal assessment, after it stopped work on site during the summer, following a dispute about work on the scheme.

The company had started in the spring to restore the resort’s Victorian and Edwardian seafront gardens to their former glory. The council has since been working closely with the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is providing more than £2m towards the restoration, to find a solution to the problem.

It is said the new contract will be worth around £2m.

Detailed analysis will now take place of the bids, with officers set to deliver a recommendation to councillors for a final decision, probably January or February.

The work in the gardens – designated as Grade II within the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest – will involve restoring structures, including shelters and ponds, and enhancing heritage features.

Work will also involve the creation of a new public shelter at the top of the cliffs in the South Cliff Gardens, next to Felixstowe Town Hall.

Other projects will see the installation of interpretation, signage and learning opportunities, improvements to furniture, lighting and seating, work to encourage ecological diversity, the reinstatement and enhancement of gardens of interest, creation of a new heritage trail and public open space.

Schoolchildren from all the schools in Felixstowe and the Trimleys have been involved in the design work.

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