Action to restore tourist attraction

By Kate MaxwellTAXPAYERS' money will be used to help restore a tourist attraction in Southwold to its former glory.Southwold Town Council has agreed to make one-off grant towards the cost of renovating work on the boating lake, which it is hoped will open to residents and tourists in the summer.

By Kate Maxwell

TAXPAYERS' money will be used to help restore a tourist attraction in Southwold to its former glory.

Southwold Town Council has agreed to make one-off grant towards the cost of renovating work on the boating lake, which it is hoped will open to residents and tourists in the summer.

The lake, which is opposite Southwold Pier, became the responsibility of Waveney District Council in the 1970s, but has fallen into disrepair over the years.


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The town council decided to act after commenting on the district council's neglect of the lake, which it felt could be an attractive amenity benefiting both residents and visitors to the town.

New tenants Mark and Diana Mayo-Jennings, from Mickfield, have taken over running the lake and they have spent considerable sums on improvements with a view to reopening the lake this season.

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As well providing a watercourse for boats and canoes, the area is also a wildlife haven, with the silt islands offering safe nesting and roosting sites to wildfowl.

Peter Austin, district councillor for Southwold and Reydon, said the lake had become silted up and virtually unusable for rowing boats and canoes, which in the past could float round the silt islands viewing the wildlife.

"Consequently, the lagoon needs dredging and the islands reinstating so boats are not continually grounding," he added.

"We feel it is a marvellous asset which should be brought back into proper use, so Southwold Town Council has agreed to support that aim by giving some money to help them."

Mr Austin said when the leisure assets of Southwold were handed over to the newly-formed Waveney District Council in the 1970s, it was assumed the new council would continue to maintain them at the same standard which the town council had achieved.

"The little niceties of the agreement seem to have been forgotten over the years. From the town's point of view, we long to see the lagoon put to good and proper use," he added.

Councillor Peter Webb said to prevent the silt islands dissolving into the water, they needed to be reinforced with a wooden palisade, which will cost about £10,000 to build.

"The islands need to be built up regularly with silt, but this wasn't done for some years. A new tenant has now taken over. The tea hut has been refurbished very nicely indeed," he added.

Southwold Town Council decided to make a "one-off" grant of £2,000 to help meet the new tenant get the business started.

It agreed to the action after commenting on the district council's neglect of the lake, which it felt could be an attractive amenity benefiting both residents and visitors to the town.

"It is to the advantage of everyone for the area to be attractive," said Councillor Geraldine Bryant, considering whether the town council was justified in spending taxpayers' money on the attraction.

"I think we are entitled to encourage them just this once."

The boating lake is eventually expected to be a profit-making business and independent of town council funding.

kate.maxwell@eadt.co.uk

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