Project will help enhance entrance to Southwold
- Credit: James Bass
For one of the country's top tourist destinations, some people think the ordinary-looking entrance to Southwold does not quite match its reputation.
But now the Suffolk coastal resort could finally be living up to its high expectations after a plan to redevelop an eyesore site on the gateway to the town was enthusiastically approved.
The former Southwold Service Station has long been a bugbear for residents, having been empty for many years.
An application to turn it into 18 apartments was approved nine years ago - but the company behind the bid then went into liquidation, meaning the impasse remained.
However the site was bought by Equity Homes last year, who approached Waveney District Council (WDC) and the community for advice - being aware that the area is, according to a WDC report, 'of high importance given the prominence of the site on the approach to Southwold in an area that is in need of enhancement'.
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Its plan for eight three-bedroom homes and a single two-bedroom home, with associated car parking, has won much praise, with Southwold town councillor Will Windell highlighting the developer's 'model consultation'.
He added: 'We've always been concerned that this is an iconic entrance to the town and we were concerned to get a development that is right for the town.
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'A lot of work has gone into this to get it right.'
Waveney District Council's planning committee unanimously approved the application at its meeting on Tuesday (May 17), with member Sue Allen saying: 'The consultation between everyone has been excellent.'
In its formal response to the planning application, the Southwold and Reydon Society said: 'It is certainly a better solution than the original approved scheme for the site and hopefully sets a benchmark for the remaining sites at this important entry to the town.'