Cash boost for Southwold harbour plans

An ambitious scheme to improve facilities at Southwold harbour and repair the crumbling north dock wall has been boosted by money from the European Fisheries Fund.

Detailed plans for the project, which will benefit fishermen by providing better moorings, refrigeration areas, water and electricity hook ups, a crane and refuelling area, were revealed last month.

Now a �1.22m grant from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) has been confirmed, meaning that the project - totalling about �4m - can go ahead.

The business case for the plans, which includes a 278m stretch of vertical steel piling in front of the existing harbour wall, said: 'Major reconstruction work is urgently required to prevent major failure. Investment in the wall will ensure that the fishing industry will be able to continue to operate within Southwold.

'This ultimately safeguards against the risk of potential unemployment of the entire fishing fleet. This is itself of a major financial benefit to the economy both within the harbour and the local community.'

The long-awaited proposal comes after more than six years of work to get control of the harbour undertaking handed back to the people of Southwold and the plans have been drawn up following public consultation earlier this year.

Southwold mayor Sue Allen said: 'It is absolutely fantastic news, and testament to everyone's hard work...It means so much for the town and for the future of the surrounding area. A lot of tourism comes off the abck of Southwold and with up-to-date facilities it will also attract more fishermen, we know the interest is there. It wwill also benefit the lifeboats as well as all other harbour users.'

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Ray Hedley, chairman of the EFF's England selection panel, said that the grants are in place 'to support the industry in striving to be sustainable, profitable, well-managed and internationally competitive.'