Southwold: Resort masterplan approved in face of strong objections

Researchers used the census, purchasing patterns, house prices and other techniques to provide detai

Researchers used the census, purchasing patterns, house prices and other techniques to provide detailed snapshots of peoples lifestyles in 2013. - Credit: Archant

A coastal town’s application for a neighbourhood plan has been approved, despite more than 80% of consultees raising concerns about the area it covers.

Southwold Town Council made the application in February, and during a six-week consultation 84% of people objected to the exclusion of the neighbouring village of Reydon from the blueprint. But despite the majority of people in the consultation saying they are against the area designation, Waveney District Council does not feel that it needs to change.

The decision notice from the district authority reads: “Objectors to the designation all considered that Southwold should not produce a neighbourhood plan without including the neighbouring parish of Reydon.

“Objectors stated that Reydon and Southwold rely on each other for most services and facilities, shops, health provision, employment and housing and the resident population of Reydon is perceived as the stability that Southwold needs to support its continued viability.”

The report goes on to add there are no valid reasons as to why Waveney should not designate the Neighbourhood Area for Southwold as submitted.

In total there were 49 responses to the consultation, with only eight submissions in support of the area designation.

At the latest town council meeting councillor Will Windell said: “We have got our decision notice and it’s been approved.

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“The application for the parish of Southwold for the purpose of neighbourhood planning is approved. I’d like to thank the town clerk for the amount of work she put in to get the area designation.”

The town council has also made clear what issues will be included in the neighbourhood plan, including polices on local design, land rededication, principle residence, second homes, demolition and conservation areas.

A spokesman for the district council said: “Neighbourhood planning allows local communities to directly influence planning decisions and the development and use of land in their area. This could include proposals for new shops, offices or homes and protection of green spaces and other sites of community value. Neighbourhood plans can’t stop or reduce the amount of development that is already proposed in the local plan but they can help to influence what that development will look like and where it should be located.

“The council already have documents that provide a framework for new development in the district including policies that help to determine the outcome of planning applications.

“However, neighbourhood plans can be used to develop alternative policies to those adopted by the council to reflect specific aspirations the community may have for future development of their area.”

The decision notice continues to say there appears to be a misconception from respondents opposed to the application that having an area designated for a neighbourhood plan means new building or development will take place within that designated area. It also says the town council “intend to focus on developing specific policies to protect the unique character of the town to enhance Waveney District Council’s adopted Local Plan policies.”

Visit www.waveney.gov.uk/planning for more information on the decision notice and consultation responses.

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