Fears over state of caravan site
A POPULAR holiday spot has become so run down that it is danger of being closed, according to regular visitors.Static caravan owners at Southwold harbour caravan site are concerned that the facilities have been so neglected that they would fail current health and safety inspections.
A POPULAR holiday spot has become so run down that it is danger of being closed, according to regular visitors.
Static caravan owners at Southwold harbour caravan site are concerned that the facilities have been so neglected that they would fail current health and safety inspections.
There are 169 static caravan sites at Southwold, and many of the owners have been visiting the seaside town for years.
Douglas Dorrington, chairman of the Southwold Caravan Owners Association, said that income from the site was well over £200,000 a year, but only £8,000 was spent on maintaining and improving the site by Waveney District Council.
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Discussions over the future management of the harbour and the caravan site are due to start in early July between Waveney and Southwold Town Council.
But councillors and caravaners are concerned that, in its present state, the caravan site would fail a health and safety inspection by Waveney.
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"We could lose it," said Mr Dorrington.
"It urgently needs money spending on it to bring it up to basic standards. We are not asking for amusement arcades and things – just toilets and showers that work and are kept clean.
"I've been coming to Southwold for 30 years, and some of the other people have been even longer. We'd hate to think it could become just a touring site; it's like a home from home for us. The site manager does her best, but at the end of the day it needs some of the money it raises for Waveney to be given back."
Southwold town councillor John Winter, who with mayor Sue Allen and Councillor Ann Betts will meet with Waveney next month to discuss the future of the harbour area, said: "Waveney has over the years taken the money form the harbour and caravan site and spent it elsewhere, but it's no good looking back, we've got to take what's there now and sort it out. I ran the site between 1976 and 1980 and I've been harbour master so I have a fair idea of what's involved. It won't be easy, but I'd like to see it returned to Southwold's control."
Graham Hay Davison, chairman of the Harbour Users' Association, said: "I believe that if Southwold took over the site now, Waveney would be forced to close it. The best way out of this problem is for Southwold to take it over as it is, but for Waveney to withhold foreclosure for five years while matters are put back into proper order."
He estimates that the site needs about £1 million spending on it, while the harbour needs a further £3-4 million to repair the North wall.
The combined income of the harbour and caravan site is approximately £500,000 a year.
A spokesman for Waveney District Council said many councillors would be happy to hand the harbour back to Southwold, and that there were plans to improve the caravan site.
"We are working on raising the standards of the caravan site whatever its future," he said.