Southwold: Town and district council locked in battle over ownership of Southwold Harbour campsite

Southwold Campsite

Southwold Campsite - Credit: Nick Butcher

A row has broken out over the ownership of Southwold Harbour campsite.

Waveney District Council has been collecting the revenue from the campsite on Haven Beach Marsh for almost 40 years.

However, Southwold Town Council says the marsh belongs to the town and Waveney should have been paying to use it.

It is understood the revenue from the campsite is about £30,000 a year.

During their monthly meeting, councillors called for Waveney to enter into a lease agreement for the site.

Sue Allen, who had been asked to investigate the matter by her fellow councillors, said Haven Beach Marsh was not part of the land transferred to Waveney during the 1974 local government reorganisation, when Southwold Borough Council became the town council.

Southwold mayor Michael Ladd agreed that there was no dispute that the town council did own the marsh.

Most Read

John Winter said the marsh had initially been used for overspill from the caravan site for a maximum of 40 days a year.

He said the marshes were bequeathed to Southwold by William Godell and should be earning money for its residents.

He added: “If it was Waveney District Council’s marsh and we were making money out of it, they would soon be on to us saying we want our share.”

Will Windell suggested opening up negotiations with Waveney over leasing the site.

He said: “We have a responsibility as a town council to come to some sort of agreement if there isn’t one.

“We should ask Waveney would they like to lease this land. If they don’t wish to lease the land, our responsibility to the ratepayers of Southwold is to find someone else who would like to lease it.”

Members agreed the council’s finance working group should start negotiations with Waveney over the campsite and three beach huts in Ferry Road, which are also on Haven Beach March.

A Waveney District Council spokesman said it would be helpful to all concerned to have certainty over who owned the campsite and has instructed its legal team to examine the relevant records.

The spokesman added: “We hope to have the outcome of this research and advice available shortly.

“Our most recent conversations with the town council indicate that they will be happy to discuss our findings and we look forward to reaching a conclusion to the satisfaction of all concerned.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter