Search

Southwold and Reydon Society says independent character is area’s key attraction

PUBLISHED: 14:00 16 July 2017

The High Street in Southwold. 

Picture: Archant.

The High Street in Southwold. Picture: Archant.

Archant Norfolk © 2016

One major concern of the society and our 350 members is the survival of Southwold High Street as a unique attraction made up largely of independent shops.

Southwold and  Reydon Society logo Southwold and Reydon Society logo

Recent property speculation has enlarged retail premises in order to attract national chains who will pay significantly increased rents. This has caused rents to rise throughout the high street and forced a number of independent shops to close.

The threat accelerated with the 2017 revaluation of business rates which reflects the rental value of retail premises. Our butcher, for example, is faced with a rise in rates of £1,000 per month as rates are adjusted upwards over the next five years. Southwold, with increases averaging 140pc, faces the highest increase in retail business rates in the country. The government has introduced some further reliefs but these will only soften the blow in the first years of the increases but will not stop the full effects over the five year period.

The Conservative Manifesto promised a fundamental review of business rates but the Queen’s Speech offered very little. We will be lobbying our local MPs and the government for effective action to ensure businesses are taxed according to their means, not the value of the premises they occupy. Unless this happens, we will see further erosion 
of the independent character of Southwold High Street, one of the 
key attractions for the visitors who make the economy of the town sustainable.

Planning is a continuing concern. By the time this column appears, the Waveney planning committee will have decided its response to a major application from Saint Felix School to develop some 70 houses on one of its playing fields. Waveney planning officers have recommended approval even though the application breaches key local and national planning policies to protect the countryside. Officers have accepted the school’s case that this is an enabling application and therefore a permitted exception to the rules. We disagree strongly with this view and have written to the planning committee with our detailed reasons. We hope our elected councillors will continue to protect our environment.

Other news

59 minutes ago

New mental health beds for children and young people are set to open in the region after a review found current services were not enough.

17:42

Work to create a new 1,000-acre wildlife wonderland near Lowestoft will get under way at the end of this year following a £4m grant.

One of the region’s finest stately homes is hosting an exhibition that celebrates the region’s most charming scenery.

16:02

Regular music sessions will take centre stage in Lowestoft thanks to National Lottery funding.

Most Read

The newly refurbished McDonald’s in Pakefield is due to reopen tomorrow after an “exciting transformation”.

Read more
Facebook

Witnesses to a theft in Lowestoft which saw four iPhones stolen are being urged to come forward.

Read more
Lowestoft police

A wildlife trust’s visionary plan to create a vast new nature reserve on the fringes of Lowestoft is to go-ahead thanks to a grant of more than £4m, it is revealed today.

Read more
Heritage Lottery Fund
Yesterday, 17:35

Hundreds of Scouts, Cubs, Beavers and their leaders have proudly put their best foot forward to celebrate their patron saint St George.

Read more
Peter Aldous
Thursday, April 19, 2018

Horn Hill in Lowestoft was the worst street for reported crime in the whole of Waveney in the last year.

Read more
Suffolk Police

Later in Life

cover

Click here to view
the Later in Life
supplement

View

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 11°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Lowestoft Journal
e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter