Southwold: Ownership dispute over town’s harbour

Fishing boats at Southwold Harbour.

Fishing boats at Southwold Harbour. - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2009

A ROW has erupted over the future of Southwold Harbour – amid claims that Waveney District Council has broken a promise to hand over the ownership rights to a charitable trust.

Angry campaigners attended a town council meeting to voice their frustration at Waveney’s continued claim on the harbour lands and assets – which includes the nearby caravan site – and the revenue it generates.

Now a working group has been set up to look at the town council’s options.

Campaigners say the town council was the legal owner of the harbour and called for it to come back under its control.

They presented a “letter of undertaking”, signed by Waveney District Council and Southwold Town Council in February 2011, agreeing to put disagreements over ownership to one side and transfer any rights they had to the harbour to a new body called the Southwold Harbour Trust. Prospective voluntary trustees signed up to the scheme four years ago and have since being working with Waveney to bring the project to fruition.

Alan Davies, chairman of the prospective Southwold Harbour Trust, said the process had ground to a halt.

He said: “We can make no further progress in setting up the trust to which we were appointed.

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“Waveney is not going to set up this trust and transfer rights over the harbour lands and assets to a local body.”

But a spokesman for Waveney district council said: “We are ready and committed to work with the town council and the trustees.”

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