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Council opts for cheap option of Southwold harbour wall repairs

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:12 06 July 2010

Southwold Harbour.

Southwold Harbour.

Amy Gray

Waveney District Council has opted for a cheaper option of works to strengthen Southwold's harbour wall.

A report had recommended that mooring space should be provided, however, the council has proposed a cheaper option that does not initially offer commercial or leisure use.

Waveney District Council has opted for a cheaper option of works to strengthen Southwold's harbour wall.

A report had recommended that mooring space should be provided, but the council has proposed a cheaper option that does not initially offer commercial or leisure use.

The report, by consultants HR Wallingford, concluded that the best option for the north dock wall would be to put steel sheet piling in front of 80m of the wall, including at the lifeboat station, and rock revetments for the rest of the wall with seasonal pontoons in front.

Waveney has opted to consult on a scheme that does not include pontoons and only 40m of steel piling, because it cannot afford the more expensive option - although it said the scheme did allow for future development.

The scheme which includes fish- landing and yacht-berthing facilities would cost an estimated £1.9m and £10,000 per year upkeep; the council's proposal would cost about £1.5m and £7,000 a year.

Colin Law, deputy leader of the council, said: "The council must take a balanced view of all, sometimes competing, interests when assessing the merit of investment, particularly given uncertainties surrounding the long-term viability of the harbour.

"Additionally, we must balance any proposal with our responsibility to taxpayers throughout the whole district. Increasing environmental pressure will lead to a requirement for more work in the longer term and alternative sources of funding will be required to supplement or replace the funding streams provided in recent times. The present consult-ation process will scrutinise the thinking which led to our recomm-endation and stakeholders will have an opportunity to understand and challenge the content."

A council spokesman said an initial report into the harbour wall cost £27,000 and the budget for the present study was £50,000 in total.

Currently, only the RNLI uses the quay for lifeboat launches because of the unstable wall and the report said that "major reconstruction work" was urgently needed at the site.

The report also said: "The consultation returns identified that there is an overwhelming desire for the quay to be brought back into use in order to maximise its future commercial viability."

Factors taken into account when decided what type of work should be carried out included risk to public safety, making sure the lifeboat can launch, how cost-effective it is and to accommodate for any future changes needed.

The public consultation into the proposal of works finishes on March 2.

Go to www.waveney.gov.uk to view the document and for a list of places.

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