Southwold harbour fears voiced

DOZENS of Southwold harbour users attended an open meeting to urge Waveney District Council bosses to come up with a different preferred option of works to stabilise the town’s historic harbour wall.

About 40 people attended the drop-in session at the Southwold Sports Pavilion on Thursday night, where proposals for a �1.5m scheme of works at the north dock wall were on display.

Paul Patterson, Waveney’s principal service manager for coast protection and land drainage, and Ian Cruickshank, director at consultants HR Wallingford, assured those present that their views would be taken into consideration during the consultation process.

Mr Patterson said: “We’ve taken the option that appears to give the best use of resources with the coun-cil’s budget constraints in mind.

“There is a need for us to share information and collaborate on this. All of the options are on the table.”

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The council’s proposal, following a report by HR Wallingford, involves fronting 40m of the existing harbour wall with steel piling with a further 238m of rock slopes at a cost of �1.5m, with the possibility of adding seasonal pontoons at a later date.

The Southwold Harbour Trust, which is poised to take ownership of the harbour in late October if certain criteria are met, and the Southwold Harbour and River Blyth Users Association are among those who want the council to put all their efforts into a �3m scheme that provides immediate commercial and leisure opportunities.

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Mr Patterson added: “We would say, tell us where you think it’s wrong, and if you have information that will change our assumptions, we will listen.”

Before the meeting, Alan Davies, chairman of the Southwold Harbour Trust, said the unanimous preferred option was still to front the entire length of wall with steel piling, a decision made on health and safety and economic grounds.

He said the council should be doing more to obtain grants to supplement resources and make this option viable. “This would enable us to proceed in a sensible manner in relation to option 5b [steel piling], which is essential to the well-being of the harbour, Southwold and the wider Waveney economy.”

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