Accessible holiday let plans approved to tackle 'shocking' lack
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A holiday let specifically for visitors confined to a wheelchair is set to be created less than 350ft from Southwold beach.
The former holiday letting agency and gift shop on Trinity Street will now be converted into an accessible holiday let.
The plans were given the green light at a meeting of East Suffolk Council's northern planning committee, held online on Tuesday, January 12, despite objections being raised by Southwold Town Council amid concerns about parking.
The planning application states an intention to apply for a disabled parking bay to be added outside the property, although these cannot be provided to specific premises, just individuals.
Speaking at the meeting, applicant and owner Rebecca Rix-Meo said: "I am proud to be able to put this application before the council.
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"In my 18 years of running my previous business, a holiday letting agency, I never once had a property that was suitable for disabled people confined to a wheelchair, so it is wonderful to be able to do so now.
"It is somewhat shocking that a vibrant and nationally renowned holiday location has nothing to offer someone disabled or less abled looking to stay in self-catered accommodation in the town.
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"In this day and age that is truly shocking and I am committed to ensure a useful, functional and desirable space is created so disabled guests can enjoy our beautiful town."
Ward councillor David Beavan told committee members he thought it was a "good idea" to have disabled accommodation so close to the beach.
He added: "There are obvious parking problems but my main concern is about how our town is being allowed to change.
"Trinity Street is in a conservation area and there used to be shops and real homes. Now there are only three full-time homes left and one shop. The other 10 are second or holiday homes.
"Holiday letting is by far the most profitable use of buildings in Southwold and without planning regulations it could take over completely and we would lose our community forever."
Recommending approval of the plans, which were passed unanimously, councillor Tony Cooper said: "I think it will be a very nice place for a disabled person to enjoy our lovely coast."