SOUTHWOLD AND REYDON SOCIETY

NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2019

Q. When does a hot potato become an old chestnut?

A. When it's been on our monthly meeting agenda more than half-a-dozen times. (see below).

Our September meeting was as brisk as ever – quite an autumnal change from herding young relatives and dodging excessive pedestrians. We welcomed Ian Bradbury, Southwold's Mayor, for an update and an exchange of views and we would like to thank him for his straightforward and patient approach to our lack of procedural rigidity.

We reheated a few chestnuts – of course - among them the Station Road development (remember that?), parking and the latest twist – an appropriate choice of word - in the Harbour saga.

Station Road: we now hope for a proposal, backed by a business plan, to be presented for public consultation by the end of October. Future viability depends upon attracting a number of new businesses to the Station Road element. It's tricky and, sadly, any hope of a commercially or architecturally co-ordinated approach to the concept of a “Southwold Gateway” has gone as the Police Station and Fire Station sites have different owners with their own plans.

Parking: ongoing studies and numerous surveys reinforce the astonishing discovery that one person's solution is another's disaster. Maintaining the status quo, regulated by changes to meet seasonal surges, may be the only solution. If you have a better idea ....it's probably been considered and abandoned already.

Harbour Management: You really do have to possess an obscure professional qualification to understand all this, but financial clout has triumphed. The recently proposed (and - apparently - preferred and agreed) plan for the composition of a governing body has been completely up-ended by East Suffolk Council. Local representation, drawing on local experience and expertise, has been diluted and the concept of integrated management of the harbour with the rest of the Blyth estuary seems to be at risk. Yet more consultation is on offer.

Sizewell C: the latest round of public consultation (the fourth, and not what EDF had planned) is focussed on the disruptive effects of years of construction work on local transport and the adverse long-term impact on the environment. The Society shares the concerns of local councils and pressure groups, but the consultation will have closed by 27th September.

Local Planning: major projects are still the proposed gravel pit development and housing at St. Felix playing fields and at Copperwheat Avenue. The first has had a substantial knock-back from the Inspector, which will require Suffolk County Council to amend the plan. The second has moved on (a little) but now awaits an application for the “new” playing field. The extent of the third exceeds the original allocation in the Local Plan which we regarded as the absolute maximum that Reydon could accept. All three extend into the AONB and thus merit close and continuing scrutiny.

Health: The recent (and closed) consultation on merging Clinical Commissioning Groups in Norfolk and Suffolk seems, to some, to have passed almost unnoticed. The five CCG's will all come under one umbrella. It's not clear whether more or fewer administrators will be sheltering under it. Whatever the outcome, our concern is that our successful local services should not be diluted or diverted and that the principle of care responding to local need should not be undermined. If it's not broke....

Finally: if you really have taken the trouble to read all this and are not yet a member of the Society...why not join? There's not much that's better value at less than 4p a week -  www.southwoldandreydonsociety.org.uk for details.

Ridley Burnett, Chairman.