Felixstowe’s iconic Seafront Gardens has been recognised for its role in supporting the regeneration of the town.
The Gardens won the Regeneration category in the prestigious RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) Awards for the East of England.
The RICS Awards, East of England has been running for over ten years and demonstrates the best built environment projects from the land, property and construction sectors.
This year the event, held at The Apex in Bury St Edmonds on Wednesday, 11 May 2016, played host to over 230 attendees to celebrate some of the region’s best initiatives.
The multi-million pound project to restore and improve the Felixstowe Seafront Gardens was short-listed in three of the eight categories of the RICS Awards, East of England – Community Benefit; Tourism and Leisure; and, Regeneration.
“We re-opened the Gardens at the end of last year and they are now looking fantastic. There has been great feedback from local residents and visitors already this season, so also receiving this prestigious award is a great reward for all the hard work and effort which went into this project,”
said Cllr TJ Haworth-Culf, Suffolk Coastal’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Customers, Communities and Leisure.
“This RICS Award not only recognises the commitment of Suffolk Coastal and the Heritage Lottery Fund to the Seafront Gardens, it also demonstrates the high standard of work carried out by our partners at Concertus, Mott Macdonald, Castons and Breheny in making our vision a reality.”
“It is important that we do not underestimate the importance of this project to Felixstowe. When we asked the people of the town, they highlighted the restoration of the Seafront Gardens as a key priority.”
“This is a long-term investment in the future prosperity of Felixstowe. We now have the restored Gardens as a centre-piece within a vibrant Felixstowe seafront and this is just one of many exciting developments happening in the town, which link to the positive work now being done through Felixstowe Forward.”
Suffolk Coastal consulted with the people of Felixstowe in 2007. This consultation identified the restoration of the Seafront gardens as a key priority.
Suffolk Coastal then successfully attracted Heritage Lottery Funding of over £2million to cover most of the restoration work. At that time, in 2011, the cost of the project was estimated at £2.81million.
However, the cost of the project was originally under-estimated. The final overall cost rose to about £4.8million, with Suffolk Coastal’s Full Council voting to effectively match-fund the project with the HLF in September 2014.
All eight Gardens have been restored and re-opened to the public. They are already attracting the crowds and this is not the end of the process. The Gardens will continue to improve, as the plants bed in and mature in the coming years.
There is also a 10-year maintenance plan, which has been agreed with the HLF, to ensure the Gardens are kept in pristine condition – which includes plans to obtain ‘Green Flag’ status from the Civic Trust.
The Felixstowe Seafront gardens, along with the winners of all the categories, will now go forward to the RICS Awards Grand Final 2016, held at Hilton Park Lane, London, on 14 October 2016, to compete against other regional winners for the overall title of National Project of the Year.