Enterprise hub plans paused after petitions raise concerns
- Credit: Archant
Controversial plans to build an enterprise hub in a Suffolk seaside town have been temporarily halted after residents spoke out in opposition to the proposals.
The plans for the Southwold Enterprise Hub, also known as the Station Yard Development project, was approved by councillors in 2018 in an attempt to introduce up to 90 new jobs to the town.
However, the redevelopment would see multiple businesses, including a garage and convenience store, be demolished to make way for the multi-million pound complex.
The plans have been strongly opposed by the Southwold community, including councillors David Beavan and Simon Flunder.
Petitions had recently been launched in an attempt to halt the project, which had been due to start in June of next year, citing the "many concerns raised by the local community, including the lack of consultation".
Mr Beavan said the petitions, which attracted nearly 1,600 signatures, were presented to the town council in a meeting held on Tuesday.
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In the meeting, Southwold Town Council agreed to set up what has been described by Mr Beavan as a "working group" that will look at alternative plans for the project.
Architect John Bennett had previously displayed his alternative plans for the project, which would accommodate the businesses, in a public meeting earlier in November.
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Mr Beavan said: "The council agreed to set up a working group with us to look at an alternative way forward so that the town can get behind the plan.
"I hope that this is a new phase where the town can move forward together on this scheme."
"I welcome the council's responses to the concerns."
The move to halt the plans before other proposals are considered has been welcomed by residents of Southwold.
John Huggins said: "It was a great result. I admire Simon Flunder for his determination in seeking support from all the council, as well as councillors David Beavan and Roman Robinson."
Claire Guppy added: "Well done to all those hardworking people who managed to stop a minority changing our town, with no regard of the electorate."
Kerry Wilmot, whose business Southwold Auto Services is set to be demolished under current proposals, welcomed the move to halt the plans.
Mrs Wilmot said: "We are delighted that the proposal to ask for a pause in the process of redevelopment was accepted by the town council."