The pier was built for the Coast Development Company Ltd., which was formed in 1898 by a merger between Belle Steamers Ltd. and other local concerns. Promoted in 1903, the pier opened in August 1905 to a length of half a mile. It incorporated a 3 foot 6 inch gauge electric tramway.
In 1905, the Coast Development Company was succeeded by the Coast Development Corporation Ltd. They went into liquidation in 1915 and were wound up in 1922. East Coast Piers Ltd., who continued the summer-only operation of the tramway, acquired both pier and tramway.
The tramway service was suspended at the outbreak of World War II and never resumed. The pier was sectioned for defence reasons and its seaward end was demolished after the war.
In 1996, plans for a £2.5 million rebuilding scheme to save the pier from collapse were released, with at least £700,000 required for immediate repairs. Attractions at the shoreward end would be extended to include a ten-pin bowling alley, cafe, shops and a bar. A roller-skating rink would be built above the arcade. There would also be kiosks along the pier’s length and a new landing stage. Nothing came of this however, and in 1999 a charitable trust was formed to try and save the pier. This also eventually was wound up and ownership reverted to Pier Amusements Ltd. who applied for a demolition order in 2004.
The proximity of the Port of Felixstowe shipping lanes accounts for navigation lights at the head.
The shoreward end still offers a range of amusements and food outlets, but the main body of the pier itself was closed to the public some years ago.
In December 2011, a hole suddenly opened in the floor of an unused part of the building after one of the pillars supporting it on the shingle shifted slightly. Things did not look very promising for Felixstowe. Pier.
Then in June 2012, plans to demolish the existing pier and replace it with a new modern design were announced. The pier’s owners, Pier Amusements Ltd, said they intended to focus on the part of the landmark attached to the prom and build a futuristic new attraction. In September 2012, the plans, which included a multimillion-pound entertainment and conference venue with restaurants and retail units, were recommended for approval by officers at Suffolk Coastal District Council, and the following month the Council gave the go ahead for the project. It was hoped that the new structure would be opened for Easter 2014.