Dismay in Reydon over Southwold’s go-it-alone plan

Storm clouds have been gathering over Southwold about its go-it-alone neighborhod plan

Storm clouds have been gathering over Southwold about its go-it-alone neighborhod plan - Credit: Archant

A decision to omit Reydon from a neighbourhood plan for Southwold provoked a wave of criticism this week.

Southwold Town Council has been given permission to go ahead with its own neighbourhood plan, which will be used to give the town a greater say over planning issues and future developments.

It had been initially hoped that Reydon would also be included in the same plan as many locals claim the village is 'joined at the hip' with Southwold and shares many common issues and goals.

But Waveney District Council has now endorsed Southwold's go-it-alone approach – despite a consultation showing 84pc of respondents wanted the communities included in one neighbourhood plan.

Michael Rowan-Robinson, president of the Southwold and Reydon Society, had called for a joint approach to the plan, which could now become a statutory planning document within 16 months.

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He said: 'I'm disappointed by the decision made. Our feeling is that the plan does not have the support of people of Southwold and Southwold Town Council can not demonstrate it has support.

'I think people in Southwold and Reydon think the same way about issues, such as employment and housing. My message to Southwold Town Council is 'go ahead with your limited plan and let's keep open the option of linking it with any Reydon plan which may have a broader scope'.'

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During a six-week public consultation, run by Waveney, over the drawing up of a neighbourhood plan, only eight of the 49 responses supported the idea of Southwold going it alone.

Dexter Kirk, who is also a member of the Southwold and Reydon Society, has lived in Reydon for eight years and is in the process of drawing up a separate village plan for the parish, covering a range of issues.

He regards the approval of the Southwold-only neighbourhood plan as a snub to Reydon.

Mr Kirk said: 'It is a done deal now. They (Southwold Town Council) want nothing to do with us and they are not interested in what happens over Might's Bridge.

'Reydon and Southwold are joined at the hip and we want a joint plan. I don't know the GDP for Southwold, but a significant part of it comes from Reydon and it should not be excluded.'

Barry Remblance, chairman of Reydon Parish Council, said: 'Obviously, as far as I am concerned, I really think it would have been for the better if we did that plan together.

Reydon's main focus would now be on drawing up a village plan, he added.

Southwold town councillor Will Wendell, who has been leading the neighbourhood plan project, defended the approach taken.

He said it was also unclear who the respondents to the consultation were and where they came from.

Mr Windell will be meeting members of the Southwold and Reydon Society today to discuss the issue.

He said: 'There has been a lot of misunderstanding about this document. It is not a town plan, which is like a wish-list; it is a statutory planning document which is very site specific.

'Southwold's planning issues are very different from Reydon's. We were justified in going ahead with a Southwold neighbourhood plan.'

Southwold has already created its own town plan, which covers issues such as transport, housing, the local economy, health services and the environment and included a consultation with Reydon residents.

In announcing its approval for a Southwold neighbourhood plan, Waveney District council said in a report: 'Objectors to the designation all considered that Southwold should not produce a neighbourhood plan without including the neighbouring parish of Reydon.

'Objectors stated that Reydon and Southwold rely on each other for most services and facilities, shops, health provision, employment and housing and the resident population of Reydon is perceived as the stability that Southwold needs to support its continued viability.

'Those in favour of the area boundary as proposed consider that a Southwold only neighbourhood plan is appropriate to cover those issue specific to Southwold.

'Although not required to do so Southwold Town Council has indicated the issues that are to be included in any future neighbourhood plan.

'The issues highlighted include a local design policy, an infill policy, principal residence policy, second home policy, demolition policy and conservation area policies.

'Development of polices to cover these issues in the Southwold neighbourhood plan will not directly impact Reydon parish area. The production of a neighbourhood plans contained with the Southwold parish boundary has been justified.'

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