Felixstowe: Seafront gardens contract cancelled after negotiations fail to resolve dispute

Happier times . . . Felixstowe Mayor Jan Garfield and Suffolk Coastal District Councillor Geoff Hold

Happier times . . . Felixstowe Mayor Jan Garfield and Suffolk Coastal District Councillor Geoff Holdcroft break ground at the Sea Front Garden next to town hall to start the £2.76m renovation project. - Credit: Archant

Community leaders have today terminated the contract for the £2.76million restoration of Felixstowe’s seafront gardens after a dispute over the work.

The project, which aims to restore the nationally-important Edwardian and Victorian gardens to their former glory, began in mid-May this year.

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 informed the full council meeting that “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 with the main contractor P Casey (Land Reclamation) Ltd, alleging a breach of contract.

Mr Holdcroft said: “It is disappointing that we have been forced to terminate the contract, because we had hoped to find a positive solution to this situation.

“However, we need to move on and focus our efforts on the procurement process to identify a new contractor who can complete this important restoration project in the heart of Felixstowe’s seafront.”

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The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded Suffolk Coastal a grant of more than £2million towards the scheme.

HLF has been kept informed throughout this process.

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