December 13 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 28, 2013
The row over the ownership of Southwold Harbour campsite is gathering pace after the town council announced plans to bill Waveney District Council for the use of the land.
Southwold Town councillors have agreed to write to Waveney requesting payment for the use of Haven Beach Marsh as a campsite for the period 2013/14.
Waveney has been collecting the revenue from the campsite 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 per year.
The issue was previously raised at the town council’s April meeting when councillors deferred it to their finance working group to consider.
During their meeting this week, town councillors voted in favour of the working group’s recommendation to write to Waveney to remind it of the ownership of the land and ask for the income from the marsh for the current financial year.
Councillors set a time limit of one month for Waveney to respond and also agreed they would not ask for back rent to be paid.
Speaking at the meeting, John Winter said Haven Beach Marsh was part of the land bequeathed to the people of Southwold by William Godell more than 500 years ago.
“Like all of the bequest, it belongs to the town of Southwold,” he said. “It is for us to say what happens to it.”
In April, town councillors agreed 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. However, Waveney disputed this and instructed its legal team to examine the relevant records.
This week, a Waveney spokesman said: “Southwold Town Council have indicated that they will be writing a letter to us on this matter and we will respond appropriately in due course.”
Waveney also runs the adjacent caravan site, which is not on the marsh and is part of the separate harbour undertaking.