Martello Park, Felixstowe
Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) redeveloped the south seafront as part of the wider regeneration of Felixstowe.
JBA was invited by Bloor Homes to prep stage 1&2 outline proposals for a masterplan that involved 6 acres of residential development and 11 acres of parkland incorporating an ancient monument – the Martello Tower, a protected WW3 bunker.
The project extended onto the beach as well as areas inside the wall. It incorporated two large car parks, footpaths, cycle paths, play areas, a refurbished kiosk, service area, and a accessibility ramp to allow access to beach.
Current housing needed to be protected from possible storm surges (now more anticipated with climate change), as well as associated accessibility issues.
There were also major constraints to consider from English Heritage. The specific military history of the Martello Tower had to be preserved with no changes to it. Moreover, there were significant ecological restraints associated with red-listed plant species.
The area needed to be made attractive, inviting and inspiring in order to encourage tourists.
The character of the space was designed to be entirely natural, with shingle dunes, marine planting, and indigenous seeding (species that can withstand the drought and winter winds).
The project was designed to be low maintenance, low cost, naturalistic, biodiverse and in keeping with the landscape.
The maritime park includes play areas, formal and informal gardens, events space and associated facilities. The seafront setting influenced the design approach, with an emphasis on natural, coastal materials and planting, including a spine of shingle dunes which link the elements within the site.
Through the course of the project, James Blake Associates:
- Undertook extensive site assessments, research and analysis.
- Developed concepts and masterplans informed to meet an evolving SCDC brief.
- Gave presentations to SCDC and associated groups.
- Completed public engagements.
- Consulted English Heritage and prepared information for Scheduled Ancient Monument and Listed Building Consent.
- Participated in the public art steering group.
- Prepared all necessary contract documents.