Resort regeneration plan rejected
By Mark HeathA CONTROVERSIAL multi-million-pound scheme that would have seen new houses and a range of leisure facilities built in a resort has been rejected by councillors.
By Mark Heath
A CONTROVERSIAL multi-million-pound scheme that would have seen new houses and a range of leisure facilities built in a resort has been rejected by councillors.
Members of the Suffolk Coastal District Council's south area development control sub-committee voted yesterday against the Felixstowe project following a four-hour meeting.
The plan, jointly proposed by the council and Bloor Homes, promised to regenerate southern Felixstowe, using a derelict 17-acre seafront site to breathe new life into the town.
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Had it been approved, 209 homes and a public park boasting an amphitheatre, wooden galleon, gardens, play areas and a restaurant and bar would have been created.
But more than 250 objections were lodged against the scheme, which was earmarked for land between Orford Road, Langer Road and Manor Terrace.
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Although planning officers had recommended the plan should have been approved, councillors voted 6-3 against the scheme.
A spokesman for the council said: “They refused it contrary to existing local plan policy and highlighted six specific bits on which it was not in line with the local plan.
“It's too early for the council to say anything as to what the implications are. We will have to reconsider our position in the wake of this decision.”
The decision will be welcomed by many residents in the seaside town, which had been polarised by varying opinions on the scheme.
Michael Ninnmey, a town and district councillor who spoke at yesterday's meeting, said it was “gratifying” that the committee had shown its independence.
He added: “It showed that the local plan is not a talking shop - it does have teeth and the scheme failed because it couldn't deliver the core requirements of it.
“What we need to do now is to have a wide consultation, taking on board all the comments that have been made, and come forward with a scheme that would regenerate the southern end of the town sympathetically.
“We could do with a period of reflection and meaningful consultation. The applicant can return with another application within the next month, so I don't think anyone is celebrating just yet.”
A spokeswoman for the Suffolk Preservation Society, which rallied against the scheme, said it was pleased with the result.
She added: “The society considers that this is the best decision for the people of Felixstowe.
“The proposals were completely at odds with the local plan and this now gives the opportunity for a radical rethink and comprehensive examination of this sensitive and important site, taking all the important considerations into account.”
Bloor Homes declined to comment last night on the council's decision.