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Mixed views for pop-up beach in Christchurch Park after complaints lodged by visitors and residents

PUBLISHED: 16:28 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:50 11 September 2017

Christchurch Park Beach Opening on Saturday.Picture:Nige Brown.
Charlie Acott.

Christchurch Park Beach Opening on Saturday.Picture:Nige Brown. Charlie Acott.

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A pop-up beach which drew thousands to Christchurch Park this summer has sparked debate among residents and visitors.

Christchurch Park Beach Opening on Saturday.Picture:Nige Brown.
Diena Collier and Lia Reynolds.Christchurch Park Beach Opening on Saturday.Picture:Nige Brown. Diena Collier and Lia Reynolds.

The temporary sand area, which opened back in July, was based near the children’s play area – and was used by around 15,000 people in just six weeks.

Decking, a funfair, bungee trampoline and private bar for parents surrounded the beach, which opened seven days a week between 11am and 7.30pm until September 3.

However, despite its popularity, it has since emerged that a number of complaints about noise, alcohol and mess left once the beach was removed have been lodged with the Friends of Christchurch Park group (FOCP) in recent weeks.

Secretary Rowell Bell said: “We have received some complaints about the beach, for instance about noise, alcohol and particularly the quality of the grass after the sand was taken away from the site.

The Christchurch Park beach packs up for the end of the summer. Picture: FRED IXERThe Christchurch Park beach packs up for the end of the summer. Picture: FRED IXER

“It is being bulldozed at the moment and grass seed is growing albeit slowly. It’s obviously the first year it’s been here but we’ve had far more positive feedback than negative.

He added: “Ever so many people, I think about 15,000, have enjoyed their time there. We spoke to a few who said the staff operating the rides were very friendly and kind.

“I would say though that it has had somewhat of a mixed reaction. We’ve had some negative comments and it’s clear some people are upset about the noise coming from the park while the beach was there.”

Mr Bell said the group have met with Ipswich Borough Council to discuss the concerns and talks are underway about the future of the beach – particularly whether it will return again next year.

Council leader David Ellesmere said no decision has been made yet. He added: “We have received a handful of complaints about various aspects of the attraction for families that included a beach in Christchurch Park but this has been far outweighed by the groundswell of support for this attraction and by the many, many people from all over the town who enjoyed taking their children there for a treat over the summer holiday. We can assure park users that there will be no lasting damage to the grass – our parks team are experts in maintenance and restoration. Finally, no decision has been taken over what the activities programme for summer 2018 might be.”

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