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2005 Proposals and Developments

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Residents are asking whether they have been conned all along concerning the South Seafront development and Trevor Lockward a well know local business man asks some searching questions and supplies some relevant facts about the whole seafront fiasco.

Corruption or Incompetence

South Seafront Land

With Corruption Everyone Pays

Is it Corruption on a grand scale or sheer incompetence?

Why haven't Bloor Homes been told to submit a new scheme, putting themselves open to public competition once again?

The Council rejected one plan. That should have been the end of the matter. If you or me apply to build a small extension and it is rejected, we must reapply from the start. Why are Bloor Homes receiving special privileges?

Is it democratic for a few councillors, most of whom have no association with Felixstowe, to make such an important decision? 18 years ago the Council threw off the 600 beach huts that had occupied that site: that's a loss of income of 18 years x 600 beach huts x £500 a year Council Tax (at current rates) which is £5,400,000.

In addition the Herman de Stern had four Council tenants plus the Stage Door amateur dramatic group, plus the West End Residents Association as tenants. We know that at least two developers wrote to the council wanting to take over the Herman, which the Council bought for just £50,000 in 1979.

A good-sized semi in London cost that in 1979! These actions amount to negligence. In other countries council officials and councillors would be held to account. That's one reason why we hear of corruption in other countries, officials are prosecuted, here they are too often ignored. Income from the beach huts could have been used to transform the Herman and that area, years ago. Instead it is now to be destroyed and the land given to a developer, out just to make profit, who has no association with Felixstowe.

What are we to make of all this? It's tempting to take the stance of a national tabloid newspaper and ask if it is corruption on a grand scale or an incompetent bungle. It is certainly not serving the needs of Felixstowe people.

As neither the Council nor the Councillors involved seem willing to answer any questions, the people must make up their own minds.

In June 1997 a survey of the Herman de Stern was completed by A N Towell and Associates, chartered building surveyors, of Ipswich. It is an excellent report, which finds that the building is in generally good condition, although in need of maintenance and repair. The report says that half the asbestos had already been removed, and that removal of the rest was not considered to be a problem.

Mr MacFarlane, SCDC Head of Finance in a letter of 26 July 2005 says, 'I would expect the cost of removing the remaining asbestos to be broadly the same whether the building is demolished or not.' The building surveyors were of the same view in 1997. SCDC say that they have been unable to find a viable partner but the 1997 report shows plans for a new 187 seat theatre, a bar/restaurant, meeting rooms and several private flats.

Only £1.6 million was needed to complete the whole project. Stage Door theatre group used the building in those days, and wanted to use the new theatre. We understand that at least two developers have contacted the council since then, asking if they can get involved, but have heard nothing from SCDC. Put the building and the land to public use once again. It is time the Council served the people of Felixstowe and not just a property developer.

Trevor Lockwood