Rapid progress being made on £4.8m Felixstowe seafront gardens restoration

Contractors and councillors touring the work at the Felixstowe Seafront Gardens. L-R Annett Thompson

Contractors and councillors touring the work at the Felixstowe Seafront Gardens. L-R Annett Thompson,John Breheny, Ray Herring, TJ Haworth-Culf, Jon Stockwin, Cllr Andy Smith, Robyn, Llewellyn. - Credit: Archant

Good progress is being made on the restoration of Felixstowe’s nationally-important seafront gardens – with the new contractors working on all aspects of the project.

Since J Breheny Contractors Ltd, took over the £4.8million project, visitors to the seafront have seen rapid changes across all the gardens between Bath Tap and Felixstowe Town Hall.

It is hoped that most of the work will be complete by summer with the two gardens requiring the most work – the South Cliff Garden in Undercliff Road West and Ivy Terrace, in front of the Spa Pavilion – finished by early autumn.

Annett Thompson, head of project management, said excellent progress was being made and most of the gardens would be reopened to the public to enjoy in summer and next year, once the new planting had taken hold and matured a little, they would be flourishing.

The scheme involves restoring the Edwardian and Victorian gardens to their former glory, including refurbishing historic shelters, ponds and walls, planting of low-maintenance grasses, shrubs and trees, a new contemporary-design shelter, plus a heritage trail.

Councillors were told extensive stabilisation work needed below the cliffs in the Ivy Terrace area was one of the reasons for a £2m increase in the cost of the work.

One of Breheny’s biggest tasks so far has been to build a piled retaining wall and then to backfill this area ready to construct a ramp as part of the network of paths across the gardens and to ensure access for people of all abilities.

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Other work taking place in this area, next to the Spa approach road, is including removal of some of the street lighting and stonemasons rebuilding the piers on the Ranelagh steps from the cliffs above.

Next to the Town Hall, there has been a full site investigation because of the state of the cliffs, while work has been taking place on the lower gardens, repairs to rocks, ducting put in place for new lighting, beds being planted ready for spring planting, and a new base constructed for the replacement fountain.

Elsewhere, the arch at the Cascade pond is being repaired with the fish relocated and pond cleaned out; benches are being refurbished; excavations carried out for ducting for lighting; and new blocks made for the Long Shelter entrance.