Action call on “eyesore” Southwold site
- Credit: Picture: Nick Butcher
Urgent action is being demanded over a site at the gateway to Southwold which has been described as 'dangerous' and an 'eyesore'.
Planning permission was given for 18 apartments and six cottages to be built on the former service station site at the corner of Mights Road and North Road in June 2007.
But the plot has remained only partially developed for more than five years.
A deep hole was excavated for the planned underground car park and foundations were laid for the cottages but construction work then came to a halt.
The land, which is surrounded by blue metal hoardings, has changed owners since the work began and is now in the hands of banking giant RBS Group.
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A spokesman for RBS told The Journal the company was investigating its options and was likely to build residential properties on the site later this year.
But community leaders are calling for urgent action to improve the state of the large plot at the entrance to the town which they claim is a safety risk and 'a disgrace'.
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Southwold mayor Michael Ladd said: 'The hole was dug and that was it. We have been trying to get some movement on it for some years. We would at least like to see something done about the old blue metal hoarding.
'We tried to cover it up when the Olympic Torch came through but really the site looks awful.'
Mr Ladd said the town council had only recently discovered who the current owner of the site was, but since then it had written to the company several times asking for something to be done.
'It is a safety issue,' he said, 'Sometimes the hoardings blow down and expose this huge big hole which somebody will eventually fall in.'
John Perkins, of the Southwold and Reydon Society, branded the site 'an absolute eyesore and a disgrace'.
He said: 'Coming into town it gives a really bad impression. More importantly it is quite dangerous and there has been vandalism there for a number of months. The other day one whole sheet was kicked down.
'There is a very deep excavation there and it is very dangerous. If a child gets in there they will hurt themselves.'
Mr Perkins said the society had been speaking with RBS about improving the appearance of the blue hoardings by painting a mural on them as part of a wider project to brighten up the whole area.
He said the mural could be painted on panels by local school children.
'RBS have some responsibility here as well,' he said. 'It is their site and we are asking them to do something about it.'
Barrie Remblance, chairman of neighbouring Reydon Parish Council, said councillors had had concerns about the site for some time.
'I am amazed that Southwold Town Council have let this go on like it has,' he said. 'It is a complete and utter eyesore at the entrance to the town.'
The RBS spokesman confirmed the company was aware of local concerns, and he added: 'We are currently considering our options but are likely to be building it out later this year.'
Waveney District Council's planning department confirmed the planning permission granted to develop the plot was still valid as work started on the site within the three-year time limit.