Felixstowe: Resort looking forward to £100m investment to regenerate economy

Gone . . . The old TSB Bank has at last been refurbished after 15 years sitting empty, ready to be r

Gone . . . The old TSB Bank has at last been refurbished after 15 years sitting empty, ready to be relet for shop use, in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe. It's not all doom and gloom in the town with new shops set to open and up to £100m to be invested in the town. - Credit: Archant

DESPITE the recession, Felixstowe is set to benefit from £100million of investment over the next few years to regenerate the town.

Andrew Rowdon, chairman of Felixstowe Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

Andrew Rowdon, chairman of Felixstowe Chamber of Trade and Commerce. - Credit: Archant

Some projects – such as the £25m-plus south seafront scheme and £3m new medical centre – are already under way with others set to start this year.

Now Felixstowe Chamber of Trade is also putting plans in place to move forward and help the town regenerate, attract more shoppers and bring more trade.

Despite around a dozen empty units at the moment, a few restaurants up for sale and other outlets clinging on, business leaders say the resort has weathered the recession better than other towns.

The number of shops that have closed is below the national average and several new ones have opened over the past four years, with others opening soon.

A new Prezzo Italian restaurant is set to open in the old Candler furniture store, another café bar in the former Select shop, two other outlets have been let, and the old TSB Bank – closed for 15 years – has been refurbished for shop use.

Chamber chairman Andrew Rowdon said: “I think the town is doing OK. There have been some casualties, which has been very sad, but most people are adapting, moving with the times and making the best use of technology.

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“It is frustrating because we all wish the times were better and that we could get through this faster than we actually are.

“There is a lot of money potentially being invested in Felixstowe and that can only be good for the long-term.”

The town was awarded £10,000 from the Portas Pilot Project to secure its resort events co-ordinator with the aim to hold even more town centre and seafront events to attract visitors and improve the economy.

The chamber of trade recently received a £5,000 business grant from Suffolk Coastal which could fund workshops, training, for publicity, to improve its website and the chamber’s profile, and increase its partnership working.

Major projects for the town include the £2.76m renovation of the seafront gardens, the multi-million pound new pier, the possibility of up to three new superstores, and around 450 new homes.

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