Southwold harbour wall regeneration will ‘boost’ local economy

A major project to bring repairs and improvements to Southwold's harbour will provide a 'much-needed boost' to the local economy

That was the message from Conservative politicians last week as they visited a �3.2m project to regenerate the harbour wall and install new fishing equipment.

East of England MEPs Vicky Ford joined Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey last Friday as she met harbour users, fishermen and local councillors just days before the project was due to be finished.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, MEP Geoffrey Van Orden visited the site at the Blyth Estuary to meet contractors May Gurney and property consultants NPS to discuss the completion of improvements.

The work – which was scheduled to be finished earlier in the year but was delayed after a series of setbacks – will provide improved facilities including new moorings, a refrigeration area and ice-making machine, storage compounds, a 55kg capacity crane to lift boxes from boats to shore, electricity hook-ups, a diesel store, and a CCTV security system.

The politicians were part of a campaign for the work to be carried out and supported a bid by Waveney District Council and the Southwold Harbour Lands Trust in 2010 for extra funding from the European Fisheries Fund, which provided more than �1m on top of the council's �2m allocation.

Dr Coffey said: 'The last time I was with Vicky was two-and-a-half years ago, prior to getting the money from the EU and Waveney's funding commitment, so it was excellent to see the harbour wall looking fantastic.

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'There are now facilities in place to help our local fishermen. None of this would have happened without input from our MEPs.'

Mr Van Orden said the project would provide welcome support the local fishing trade.

He said: 'It is very satisfying to see the successful outcome of much campaigning and hard work by so many local people. There are many ways in which I have tried to help our fishermen.

'The renovation will provide a much- needed boost to the fishing industry and wider local economy, a sustainable harbour, and protection against the ravages of the sea.

'It will also improve working and safety conditions, and provide a more modern, stable structure for the operation of the RNLI lifeboat.

'I have always taken the view that 'EU funds' are British taxpayers' money recycled through Brussels.'

The politicians went on to visit Sizewell C information centre to talk about plans for the public consultation over the proposed new plant.

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