Leisure vision published for Suffolk port town

Suffolk Coastal District Council is consulting on a masterplan which floats a leisure-led approach to revitalisation of the port town of Felixstowe.

Felixstowe: leisure vision for northern edge of town unveiled
Felixstowe: leisure vision for northern edge of town unveiled

The document, prepared as part of the current review of the council’s local plan, highlights the opportunities for leisure development on extensive parcels of council-owned land on Felixstowe’s northern edge.

The council says it wants to "explore future opportunities to provide cutting-edge, modern and enhanced sports and leisure facilities to benefit Felixstowe and help grow the wider economy".

The council’s submission, prepared by planning consultants Strutt and Parker and urban designers at LDA Design, will now be considered by its local plan working group and will be subject to further engagement with other stakeholders.

"This is just the start of a long conversation with local people about what they want and how we maximise the potential of this area," said Geoff Holdcroft, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member with responsibility for economic development.

"Rather than having a patchwork of ad hoc developments, Suffolk Coastal decided to be proactive in pulling together all the various strands of possible development, including that relating to our land, to create a bold vision for north Felixstowe."

An issues and options consultation on the local plan review ran from August to the end of October 2017 and a preferred options consultation is scheduled for next summer. Once agreed, the revised plan will inform the location of new homes and infrastructure for the district up to 2036.

Holdcroft said the town’s main existing facilities, the Brackenbury Sports Centre and the Felixstowe Leisure Centre, need substantial investment to bring them up to the standard required.

"As such, we will explore a range of options for facilities in Felixstowe, either on the existing sites or by creating a new site, such as the development suggested in the Felixstowe Leisure Vision document."

Holdcroft said that if the latter option is pursued, the Brackenbury site could be redeveloped for other uses and the leisure centre site could be reused to complement the existing leisure and tourism offer in its prime seafront location.

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