Erosion homes scheme for Reydon and Easten Bavents was ‘badly advertised’
A SCHEME designed to help people whose homes are threatened by coastal erosion came under fire this week amid claims that a public consultation was 'too short' and 'poorly advertised'.
Waveney District Council launched a two-week public consultation on July 25 over plans that would give families from Easton Bavents the right to build nine new houses at Rissemere Lane East, Reydon.
But the consultation documents displayed at Southwold Library – detailing the application submitted as part of the Waveney Pathfinder Project – were criticised as being inaccessible and too small for people to read.
Reydon Parish Council also expressed its concerns when its members discovered they would not be able to discuss the plans because they do not meet again in August. However, it is hoped they will now hold an extraordinary public meeting to discuss the proposal before the end of this month.
Amid mounting pressure from the parish council and villagers, the district council has now extended the consultation period until the end of August to give people more time to air their views.
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Chairman of Reydon Parish Council Barrie Remblance said: 'It appears as if they are trying to rush this through at a time when people are on holiday or preoccupied with the Olympics and that does not feel comfortable.
'The councillors want to do their own research and they want to be able to discuss it together about what we think about these plans. Originally it was just going to be that people in Easton Bavents could build homes on greenbelt land, and then it seems as if someone else is getting planning permission because of it, but we might be wrong.'
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The Waveney Pathfinder Project sets down a land rights transfer policy which allows the people of Easton Bavents and Corton, whose homes are under threat from the encroaching North Sea, to relocate to safe land and build similar properties under the same planning permission.
But the application submitted by Waveney District Council, for outline permission for nine homes, has prompted a number of concerns including fears about potential damage to land adjoining Reydon Smear.
Robert Kelsey of Rissemere Lane East, Reydon, told The Journal: 'The local residents are concerned that the 'consultation process' is hugely inadequate as it stands, as well as misinforming.
'The small board is hardly readable and in an inaccessible part of the Southwold library. There has been no leafleting or signs posted in the Reydon area about the consultation. The timing of the consultation, for two weeks only until August 15, is timed to coincide with the start of the school summer holidays – the peak period in the entire year for people being away.'
A leaflet has also been circulated in Reydon encouraging people to contribute to the public consultation and to help protect the The Smear behind Rissemere Lane.
The �1.5m Pathfinder project, a government-funded scheme, was approved in January last year.
Corton and Easton Bavents were chosen as part of the scheme to test options for managing coastal erosion and the impact on communities and businesses.
The outline planning permission applied for by the district council in Reydon would establish that land can be developed, but further detailed planning consent would be required before any properties could be built.