Spring 2021 repairs to Southwold Harbour agreed by East Suffolk as £1.1m scheme approved
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Work to repair Southwold Harbour costing up to £1.1million has been given approval to begin in spring next year.
The harbour’s north pier fender is damaged and in need of repair to protect boats navigating to and from the Blyth Estuary, according to East Suffolk Council.
Anticipated costs for the scheme have risen from an estimated £120,000 two years ago to an estimated £1.1million, although the council said that was a worst case scenario cost and would be putting the work out for tender again to see if a revised cost can be found.
That cost will be funded from existing council capital budgets and reserves.
MORE: East Suffolk to discuss Southwold Harbour repairsEast Suffolk’s cabinet on Tuesday night unanimously agreed to pursue the work, which will begin in spring 2021, because of how important the repairs are.
Councillor David Ritchie, cabinet member for coastal management, said that the cost had gone up for “absolutely good reasons”.
“The fender to protect for shipping coming into Southwold Harbour is absolutely essential to the future of Southwold Harbour and East Suffolk Council is totally committed to Southwold Harbour having a good future,” he said.
“The repairs to the fender will probably over the next 10 years be one of the less-expensive items for keeping the harbour safe as an active harbour.
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“There will be work to do in the estuary and there is the south training arm which will require structural work.
“This is really why at the old Waveney District Council and at present East Suffolk Council we have been working for many years now to improve the management and the structure of the harbour and bring in a harbour management committee.”
According to the council, one of the main reasons for the cost increase is because companies bidding for the contract say they would need to carry out work with a floating pontoon which elevates the cost.
The council has said it will launch a fresh negotiation with those firms and put out another tender to see if it can be carried out from the beach itself that will lower the cost.
It is also waiting on a decision from the Environment Agency on whether it has been successful in securing a £250,000 grant for the work.
Work cannot take place over the winter, meaning the council will have a better idea of the final cost – not expected to exceed the £1.1m – next year once the outcome of the grant bid and final tenders have been confirmed.
The fender was substantially rebuilt in 1992 to reduce the impact of wave erosion, while further repairs were carried out in 2008.
Two surveys since then found fresh repairs were needed, and while work was originally planned in 2018 at an estimated £120,000, that window of opportunity was missed because of questions over the cost.
The council is also working on a whole harbour review due to be published in January outlining more details for future investment needed.