New life for Southwold’s crumbling harbour

The long-awaited regeneration of Southwold's harbour will take a step forward when revised plans go before the town council.

A multi-million pound project to repair the town's historic harbour, including the crumbling North Dock Wall, will be discussed when a planning application is put before Southwold Town Council tonight .

If approved by Waveney District Council next month, work could start as early as September - much to the delight of local stakeholders and harbour users.

Waveney set aside �2 million and successfully secured a further �1.22 million from EU European Fisheries Fund (EU EFF) to fund the scheme which would see improved facilities for fishermen, including new moorings, a refrigeration area and ice making machine, storage compounds, a 55kg capacity crane to lift boxes from vessels to shore, electricity hook-ups, a diesel store, and the provision of CCTV.

It will also pay for the re-positioning of the RNLI's winch and davit to land north-west of the lifeboat station in Ferry Road.

'We've been trying to get this going for almost 10 years,' said mayor of Southwold Sue Allen.

'It is what everybody has wanted for a long time now and, hopefully, as everything seems to be running on time, work could start in September.'

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Harbour plans were revised last year following a consultation with residents, businesses and stakeholders. Waveney council's preferred option was to front 40 metres of North Dock Wall with steel piling and building a further 238 metres of rock slopes, but following a study by consultants HR Wallingford, it was decided that a balance between steel piling and pontoons would be more cost-effective.

'It has been the council's aim to work with the local harbour community in an effort to deliver a scheme that meets their aspirations,' said councillor Wendy Mawer, Waveney's portfolio holder for regeneration.

The working harbour had been run by Waveney council since the 1970. In 2003 it revealed plans to sell the caravan site located at the harbour. In 2010, the freehold was handed to the newly formed Southwold Harbour Lands Trust, a group which was set up to oversee the regeneration of the area and secure the future of the site.

It is now hoped that groundwork investigations and construction cost estimates can take place this month before a final decision on the plan is made in March.