Who Are We?

The Southwold and Reydon Society is a voluntary organisation with around 350 members from our community. Our mission is to protect the character and amenities of our area. For us, this means working with, and sometimes pressurising, others to ensure that the environment, facilities and services enjoyed by our community are maintained and improved.

We also fund a free dog waste bag scheme in the area and, throughout the year, give small donations of up to £200 to local good causes, using donations given by members in addition to the annual subscription. In 2016/17, we also raised funds and completed a project to install "You Are Here" Maps at key locations in Southwold and contributed to the Town Council's project to install finger posts.

Our main work is undertaken by a committee of around twelve members, either elected at our AGM or coopted for particular expertise in a key issue.

What Do We Provide For Members?

Members receive frequent email communication, including a monthly newsletter which is also published in local magazines. Members regularly raise issues with the Committee and these are always followed up and pressure applied where appropriate. The voice and number of our members is the key to the influence we have on local affairs.

We hold two annual events for members, both including guest speakers who are either national figures or people with particular expertise on a local issue. At our AGM, we also present our Excellence Awards to individuals or groups who make an outstanding contribution to the community. Our Annual Lunch is more of a sociable occasion but always a sell-out event as members enjoy networking and hearing what our speaker has to say.

What Are Our Key Issues for 2018?

2018 is proving as busy for Southwold and Reydon as 2017 was and, clearly the more members the Society has, the more your say can be heard.

The current issues which we are pursuing include:

- the management and maintenance of the harbour and estuary. We continue to press for an effective overall strategy to keep the estuary in its current shape and able to deal with storm surges and to maintain a working harbour with a mix of leisure and commercial users.

- the operation and capacity of the sewage treatment plant. We are in touch with Anglian Water about their actions to resolve the odour problems and we are asking longer term for a system able to cope with demand both now and in the future as more homes are built locally.

- the so-called Wangford gravel pit extension. We have asked for rejection of the plan for a new gravel pit in Reydon, east of Mardle Road and close to the Hen Reedbeds. This proposal is part of a draft mineral strategy developed by Suffolk County Council and is the only new quarry proposed in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We will continue to object if this plan reappears in the next draft of the strategy.

- health care organisational issues which have changed the management of our local Out of Hospital Team and link our Sole Bay GP practice with that of Bungay. We will engage with our doctors and the Clinical Commissioning Group to monitor these changes and press hard for solutions if there are any gaps in outcomes for patients.

- St Felix development which we continue to oppose as a major development in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. If it goes ahead, we will campaign to limit the damage to the last undeveloped parts of Reydon Common and characteristic features of Suffolk estuary valleys.

- the High Street where we are working with the traders and continue to push for fair rents and rates to help maintain the independent character of Southwold shopping centre.

- We monitor all planning applications and ask for change or rejection of those which fail to preserve or improve the amenity of our community. We also support those which represent improvements such as the Southwold Hospital scheme or the new affordable housing in Green Lane, Reydon.

- We are tracking the plans for new wind farms off the coast of Southwold. Whilst we support green energy, we want to limit any loss of open sea views which are part of the town's attraction.

We also think the "parking monster" will rear its head this year as plans emerge from the various local authorities responsible. We will press for adequate parking for residents and workers in our community and also for shoppers using the High Street.

How Can You Become Involved?

The Society will continue working on these and any other issues which arise. We speak currently for some 350 members of our community but we would welcome more to make our voice even stronger. You can join for £2.