Special meeting to discuss caravan sites

THE way Waveney District Council is handling the disposal of two of its caravan sites is to be re-examined at a special meeting next week.There has been a storm of protest since the council announced plans to dispose of its sites at Southwold Harbour and North Denes in Lowestoft to a private buyer on a long lease.

THE way Waveney District Council is handling the disposal of two of its caravan sites is to be re-examined at a special meeting next week.

There has been a storm of protest since the council announced plans to dispose of its sites at Southwold Harbour and North Denes in Lowestoft to a private buyer on a long lease.

Both sites need to be updated to bring them into line with current caravan park legislation and the district council is anxious to avoid spending large sums of money as councillors attempt to keep future council tax increases to a minimum.

However, caravan owners at Southwold fear that once the site is sold it will change its atmosphere and the way the site currently blends in to the town's way of life.


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Southwold Caravan Owners Association (SCOA) representatives have been in negotiations with the district council for some time but have been unable to come to any agreement.

Last month at a public meeting in Southwold attended by the caravan owners, who were supported by the Southwold Chamber of Trade and Commerce and the Southwold Harbour and River Protection (SHARP) group, the district council were challenged about the plans to sell the site.

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The vast majority of speakers at the meeting criticised the district council over plans to dispose of the site and there were proposals to challenge Waveney's legal right to sell the site on a long lease.

One of those at the meeting was Sally Spore, a district councillor who is chairman of the council's own scrutiny committee.

She told the meeting she was “appalled” at the lack of district councillors at the meeting.

Mrs Spore said she was also concerned at the lack of information given to the council's scrutiny committee that had decided that more public consultation was needed from the district council over its plans to sell off the site.

This month's meeting of the scrutiny committee is being held at Lowestoft Town Hall on Tuesday, November 18, and originally had an agenda of 17 items including clearance of unadopted roads and complaints monitoring.

But in an unexpected move councillors have postponed dealing with all matters apart from the disposal of the caravan sites.

A district council spokesman said: “The committee will now consider the single issue of the caravan sites at North Denes, Lowestoft and Southwold, in the light of the concerns that have been expressed about the process by which the decision to dispose of the sites was reached.”

Senior officials and councillors at Waveney have said that all the correct procedures were followed before a decision was taken to dispose of the caravan sites on a long lease.

It is anticipated that many caravan owners and other interested parties will want to attend the meeting but officials say that only 65 members of the public can be accommodated in the council chamber of the town hall.

All the other items due to be discussed will now be heard on a meeting planned for Tuesday, December 9.

SCOA chairman Dougie Dorrington said he expected many caravan owners to attend the scrutiny committee meeting.

“We hope that the answers to a number of questions we have posed to councillors and council officials will be forthcoming,” he said.

Caravan owners have been sent letters by Graham Osborne, the council's leisure development and support manager, informing them that their caravans will have to be removed from the Southwold site by the end of November.

Work to begin transporting the 162 caravans from Southwold to their winter storage site at Reydon is expected to begin next week.

The owners will be hoping that they will be moving back to the caravan park close to Southwold Harbour next spring.

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