When our Committee met in early January, the holiday period already seemed a fading memory – a feeling reinforced by the number of issues facing our community. Here we deal with two of the most important.

Sizewell C: We noted the new consultation which takes us now close to the end of the planning process. We will finalise our response when we meet in February after the opportunity to attend the January consultation event. We are, however, already disappointed that the transport relief measures only include plans for a two village bypass of Farnham and Stratford St Andrew in place of the four village by-pass to relieve these villages and also Marlesford and Little Glemham. We will, along with Suffolk County Council, continue to press for the full four village version. 

Southwold Harbour: At last, the Joint Committee of Southwold and Waveney Councils has met! But only to consider proposals for the Harbour to be reclassified as a Municipal port and be run directly by Waveney (or, after April, the new East Suffolk District Council) with governance exercised by a proposed Harbour Management Committee appointed by Waveney and Southwold Councils and with some additional expert members. So the Trust agreed and supported by most stakeholders in 2015 is again off the agenda, along with the more recent Waveney plan for a Local Authority Company (which was dismissed by the Secretary of State). There is now a period of consultation on the new plans, which are based partly on Waveney’s view, which they say is backed by documentary proof, that they are the legitimate owners of the harbour. Locally, this is a much contested proposition, to say the least.

What is now needed is for everyone concerned about the future of the harbour to engage in the consultation, which includes drop-in events (10am-1pm) on January 19 at the Sailing Club and on January 26 at the Methodist Hall and a full public meeting at 6.30pm on Wednesday February 6th at St Edmunds Hall. The Society will finalise our response in February but we will ask for assurances that the Caravan site will not be sold or leased to a third party, that the income from the Harbour Lands is ring-fenced for the harbour and estuary and that local control is real and secure for the long-term. We still see the Trust model as the best way of achieving these aims, albeit while recognising that Waveney/East Suffolk’ commitment and capacity will be needed as part of the solution.

Alongside the Harbour Consultation, David Beavan, one of our District Councillors, has secured a Scrutiny Review of the Harbour situation. This will take place on February 7th, details will be on the Waveney website. David has arranged for evidence to be presented by key local stakeholders so the discussion should be worth observing.

John Winter: It is with sadness that we learnt that John Winter (Dusso) died on Monday 7th January. John was Chairman of The Southwold Sailors’ Reading Room for 26 years, and President for a further 15 years, until his death.

John was elected a Southwold Town Councillor in 1972 and was Town Mayor between 1983–1985 and 1998–99. He was a tireless campaigner for the Town and a fount of knowledge about the sea, long-shore fishing, the fishing communities (with whom he grew up) and their boats. The likes of John Winter will not be seen again, and he will be missed by all. 

Philip O’Hear, Secretary