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Beachside cafe project to get £1m boost instead of family tourist attraction

PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 June 2019

CCF grant cash is to be used to build a Beach Cafe at Martello Park, Felixstowe
 CGI image: PLAICE DESIGN CO LTD

CCF grant cash is to be used to build a Beach Cafe at Martello Park, Felixstowe CGI image: PLAICE DESIGN CO LTD

Plaice Design Co

Some community leaders have been left disappointed after learning that a near-£1million grant for a seafront regeneration project will not be spent on the work they had hoped.

An artist's impression of how part of the revamped gardens could look Picture: SUFFOLK COASTAL DISTRICT COUNCILAn artist's impression of how part of the revamped gardens could look Picture: SUFFOLK COASTAL DISTRICT COUNCIL

Some community leaders have been left disappointed after learning that a near-£1million grant for a seafront regeneration project will not be spent on the work they had hoped.

Town councillors in Felixstowe had believed the cash from Coastal Communities Fund would be spent on the neglected gardens in Sea Road to create a new attraction for visitors - especially families - to enjoy.

Plans submitted with the grant application showed the gardens transformed into a "series of rooms", including 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.

But now it has become clear that the £950,000 will go towards a new beachside cafe and exhibition space on the adjoining Martello Park, with the gardens project phase three of the overall £1.78m scheme.

Councillor Doreen Savage is disappointed that the cash will not be spent on the plans show to the community Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCouncillor Doreen Savage is disappointed that the cash will not be spent on the plans show to the community Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Town councillor Doreen Savage said: "I am quite disappointed that the funding achieved for the south seafront is being put mainly into this concept for the cafe/restaurant.

"We were given a presentation of all the work that was proposed to be done on the gardens from the pier all the way down and I actually think - and I think a lot of residents will agree with it - that it's far more important to do that work prior to building a cafe."

Deputy mayor Mark Jepson said there were also concerns about the size of the cafe which had been granted planning permission and its impact on residents living on the Martello Park development, especially if it was to become empty

Councillor Andy Smith also had concerns over the cafe site. He said: "I have no concerns at all about the scale of the building, it's an excellent building, but I think the fundamental concept the district council has got of commissioning a design, building it, and expecting a tenant is flawed and is unlikely to work.

Felixstowe Forward change director, Helen Greengrass Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVEFelixstowe Forward change director, Helen Greengrass Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

"Be a business that is a local person, or part of a national chain, or somebody else in Felixstowe who wants that opportunity, their business will have a concept of their offer, their style and the accommodation they need to to implement their business plan and opportunity and to expect a building designed, with all due respect, by council staff as a piece of council real estate to accord with somebody's business model, I think is a remote possibility.

"This will not work by providing a council building and expecting someone to fit their idea into it. The cafe is a must have, it's brilliant and a great site."

East Suffolk Council leader Steve Gallant said the key factor was the money granted for the project was allocated for the cafe building project. He said: "The reality is that all options are on the table and phase three continues to look at the wider scope of the south seafront." Inclusion of a visitor centre and the possibility of extending the work to Martello Tower P was also being considered.

Felixstowe Forward change director Helen Greengrass said a marketing exercise was taking place for the cafe site to judge the interest in building it and results of this would be known soon. She would take the councillors' views back to the project board.

East Suffolk leader Steve Gallant Picture: PAUL NIXON/EAST SUFFOLK COUNCILEast Suffolk leader Steve Gallant Picture: PAUL NIXON/EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

A CGI of the inside of the Beach Cafe for Martello Park, Felixstowe 
Picture: PLAICE DESIGN CO LTDA CGI of the inside of the Beach Cafe for Martello Park, Felixstowe Picture: PLAICE DESIGN CO LTD

How the Beach Cafe woiuld look from Sea Road as you approach the entrance to Martello Park in Felixstowe
 Picture: PLAICE DESIGN CO LTDHow the Beach Cafe woiuld look from Sea Road as you approach the entrance to Martello Park in Felixstowe Picture: PLAICE DESIGN CO LTD

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