Council's marshland hopes blow
By Jenni DixonA TOWN council's hope of taking over the management of its marshland has suffered a blow after a decision was put on hold while a report is compiled.
By Jenni Dixon
A TOWN council's hope of taking over the management of its marshland has suffered a blow after a decision was put on hold while a report is compiled.
Although Southwold Town Council owns the grazing marshland either side of Carnsey Road between the Common and the Harbour Inn, it agreed to let the land on a 40-year lease to the newly-formed Waveney District Council in 1974.
However, the town council has become concerned about the deterioration of the Site of Special Scientific Interest and has written to it's the district council, questioning its stewardship and asking for a meeting with officers.
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It has received a letter from Christine Gore, one of Waveney District Council's corporate directors, the issue has been passed to legal representatives and Norfolk Property Services, which is completing a report of the council's property portfolio and how it should be managed in future.
The report is expected soon and will then be considered by district councillors before a decision is made.
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The letter also asked the town council to take any urgent problems at the Environmentally Sensitive Area, which is liable to flooding, to its legal team, which can deal with such matters urgently.
However, Southwold town councillors have been left angered by Waveney District Council's response.
Town councillor Melanie Tucker said: "It's our land and we want it managed how we want it to be managed."
Deputy mayor Sue Allen, who had previously claimed there were too many people involved in the management, added: "We need to take strong action on this."
The land was designated part of the Minsmere and Walberswick the Site of Special Scientific Interest by English Nature between 1989 and 1993.
Under the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' Environmentally Sensitive Area scheme, maintaining appropriate water levels in its ditches and management through cattle grazing is vital to maintain the special interests of the site.
The marshes support a high number of species of breeding waterfowl such as snipe, redshank, gadwall, shoveler and black-tailed godwit and its dykes contain diverse aquatic plant communities.