TIC could be ‘listed’ to save part of Felixstowe’s heritage from bulldozers

The Suffolk Coastal offices and TIC up for sale on Felixstowe seafront.

The Suffolk Coastal offices and TIC up for sale on Felixstowe seafront. - Credit: Archant

Investigations are under way to see if Felixstowe’s under-threat Tourist Information Centre building can be listed for its architectural merit.

Suffolk Coastal council has agreed to close the TIC in the New Year and to move the facility and services in the adjoining district council offices to the library in Crescent Road.

The proposals have met fierce oppposition in some quarters, but the council insists the changes will save money and provide a better service.

The TIC building in Undercliff Road West is currently up for sale pending the move but there are fears that the Art Deco property could be demolished to make way for redevelopment of the site.

Now Felixstowe Town Council is looking at whether the building is worthy of national listing and if English Heritage would be prepared to support an application to the secretary of state.

Councillor Michael Sharman said the TIC was a distinctive element of the seafront, part of the resort’s character and history, and had been described by the district conservation expert as “well worth keeping”.

He said: “Very few Art Deco buildings remain on our seafront. This building is distinctive and I think keeping it is well worth pursuing and I understand the Felixstowe Society would wholeheartedly support its listing. I think if it is lost it will be something we deeply regret.”

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Councillor Kimberley Williams said she was not in favour of preserving buildings for the sake of it, but believed the TIC building was “unique and special” and a substantial part of the resort’s heritage.

Mayor Graham Newman said he understood the concern over the potential demolition of the building, but did not want it to become unsaleable, where listing restrictions meant that it was too expensive to alter, maintain or modernise, and then to sit on the seafront deteriorating and unused.

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