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Blue Cross restarts hunt for new Suffolk home

The Blue Cross animal charity today vowed to continue its hunt for a new site in Suffolk after withdrawing its planning application for a new animal welfare centre amid growing costs.

Andrew Gillon outside the the Hollies

The charity had submitted plans to transform a former civil service social club on Straight Road, Foxhall into a centre for sick and homeless animals but became concerned over the growing costs of the project in light of recent developments. An additional factor that has emerged through the planning process is the discovery of a site of archaeological interest in the vicinity, which adds further complexity to the redevelopment of the site under The Blue Cross’s proposals.

The Blue Cross chief executive Kim Hamilton explained: “It is with much regret that we have decided to withdraw our plans to purchase The Hollies, but we remain as committed as ever to finding a new base in Suffolk for animals in need. As a charity, we must make sure that we spend our funds wisely and I’m afraid the growing costs and other complications that have recently come to light mean this site is no longer a viable investment.”

The original budget to relocate The Blue Cross animal adoption centre in Felixstowe was estimated to be at least £1.5m, with the Complete the Dream fundraising appeal aiming to raise £1m and the sale of the current site hoped to bring in the remaining £500,000.

As well as the complications of a potential archaeological find, the infrastructure work needed to redevelop the Hollies, which has been disused for ten years, is more significant than first thought. Along with growing development costs to deliver the desired animal welfare services at this site, the overall budget now far exceeds the original estimate. As a result, The Blue Cross has been forced to reconsider its plans and restart the hunt for a new site.

Andrew Gillon, manager of The Blue Cross animal adoption centre in Felixstowe said: “We’ve looked at all the possibilities to make this project work at this site but the harsh reality is that the numbers just don’t add up. It’s a huge disappointment but we want The Blue Cross to be here for the animals in Suffolk in the long term so it’s essential that this project is financially viable, both now and in the years ahead.”
Despite this setback, the charity is urging the local community to continue supporting its Complete the Dream fundraising appeal, which has already raised a fantastic £70,000 towards a new Blue Cross centre for sick and homeless animals in Suffolk.

Andrew continued: “The campaign to keep The Blue Cross in Suffolk was truly phenomenal and the strength of our supporters has got us where we are today. We’ve raised a fantastic amount already and in the current financial climate it’s more important than ever to keep the focus on fundraising as we restart the hunt for a new site.”

The Blue Cross is now actively seeking a new site of at least two acres with development potential and good road links. Anyone with any information should contact the charity on 0300 777 1480 or at 333 High Street, Felixstowe, IP11 9QL.

The current Blue Cross animal adoption centre on Felixstowe High Street will continue to operate while the search for the new site continues. Funded entirely by public donations, the centre takes in hundreds of homeless and abandoned dogs and cats every year. Its veterinary clinic also treats the pets of people who can’t afford a private vet.

To find out how you can help or to make a donation, please contact the Felixstowe Blue Cross or visit www.bluecross.org.uk. Or keep up with all the centre’s latest news on Facebook at www.bluecross.org.uk/felixstowefacebook.


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