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Harbour wall in danger of collapse

PUBLISHED: 08:37 23 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:35 05 July 2010

THE crumbling wall at historic Southwold harbour is in a critical condition and in danger of collapse, unless vital investment is secured.

Land around the harbour, a caravan park, marshes and roads leading into the town would all be put under threat if the wall is allowed to fall into the sea, town leaders warned yesterday.

THE crumbling wall at historic Southwold harbour is in a critical condition and in danger of collapse, unless vital investment is secured.

Land around the harbour, a caravan park, marshes and roads leading into the town would all be put under threat if the wall is allowed to fall into the sea, town leaders warned yesterday.

They spoke out after another major hurdle was cleared in the campaign to have the management of the harbour handed back to Southwold Town Council from Waveney District Council.

The town council has now received a letter of intent from its colleagues at Waveney, meaning a new trust can be set up to run the harbour on behalf of the town.

Backers insist a dedicated and more local management structure will open the doors to new funding opportunities and improve conditions at the harbour, which is home to many businesses and an important tourist attraction.

Just three weeks ago, a new crack measuring 4ft appeared in the wall and the cost of general repair and regeneration work at the harbour has been estimated at £5m.

Simon Tobin, a district and town councillor for Southwold, said: “The wall is in a horrific condition … and could fall in at any time. The roll-on effect of the wall going would be dramatic. This would affect the whole harbour, the caravan site and into Southwold. The repair of that would cost multi-millions and not just £5m. Its critical we get on with the trust.”

Fellow district and town councillor Sue Allen added: “Critical is putting it quite kindly. If we get a bad winter, then God help us. The thing that is most needed is a new harbour wall; it is in a terrible state. It's not been looked after and is about to fall in.”

The town council is looking for people to become trustees of the Southwold Harbour Lands Trust, which is due to be up and running by March.

A limited liability company will then be set up to take on the day-to-day management of the harbour and adjoining caravan park, which is also set for major improvement work.

Mrs Allen said she was delighted the town council was in possession of the letter of intent to allow for the handover of power from Waveney District Council.

“It's been a long journey and was back in 2003 when we started all of this,” she added. “It is the first step of the final journey and is a really exciting time.”

Mrs Allen revealed that Waveney District Council would still be committing resources to the harbour and was seeking European funding to help carry out repair work.

Town mayor Teresa Baggott said: “We need this to get the trust formed. It is very important to the town and allows us to move forward, which is what we intend to do.”

Mrs Baggott added that potential trustees should have a passion for Southwold and its harbour. They should apply, by November 21, to town clerk Jenny Hursell on 01502 722576, or by emailing southwold.tc@virgin.net

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