“Rissemere Lane is to Reydon what The Common is to Southwold.” Campaigners demand rethink over Easton Bavents erosion homes plan

CAMPAIGNERS in Reydon have called for a rethink over plans to build nine new houses in the village for homeowners threatened by coastal erosion.

Their concerns were raised during an extraordinary parish council meeting last Thursday, where villagers had a chance to air their views about a housing scheme proposed under the Waveney Pathfinder initiative.

Under the outline plans submitted to Waveney District Council, people in erosion-threatened Easton Bavents could be given the right to move to nine new properties on land off Rissemere Lane East, Reydon.

But people told the meeting at Reydon Youth Club that they were angry at not being consulted when planning advisers identified one preferred site for the homes – despite looking at six possible sites in the village.

Fears were also raised about the potential encroachment of the development onto Reydon Smere – an area of outstanding natural beauty which adjoins the Benacre National Nature Reserve – and that property speculators might use the government-funded scheme to make a profit.

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Complaints were also directed at the rigour of the public consultation process amid claims that people in Easton Bavents were given a say in it, while people in Reydon were not.

Afterwards, campaigners called for Waveney Pathfinder to lengthen the consultation process, consider more sites for the homes and put safeguards in place to prevent property speculation.

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Robert Kelsey, speaking for a group campaigning to save Reydon Smere, told The Journal: 'We want the consultation period to be lengthened to a minimum of three months – but I think it should be longer. It should also be broadened out to include the other sites that were looked at by the Pathfinder scheme. We want the process to be transparent.'

John Perkins, secretary of the Southwold and Reydon Society, said: 'We feel the best thing now is for the Pathfinder board to relaunch the consultation and involve everyone in Reydon – not just the people at Easton Bavents. Any solution must also have safeguards to prevent property speculators profiting from the scheme.'

The Waveney Pathfinder project sets down a land rights transfer policy that allows people in Easton Bavents to relocate to safe sites inland and build similar properties under the same planning permission.

The outline permission applied for by Waveney Pathfinder in Reydon would establish that the land can be developed, but further planning consent would be needed before properties could be built.

Six possible sites were identified in Reydon by planning consultants Pellings, including land at Wangford Road, land at the western end of Easton Lane, land north for Smear Farm and two plots near Lowestoft Road. But the land at Rissemere Lane East was preferred by people in Easton Bavents and deemed affordable by Pathfinder.

Villagers at the meeting stressed they were sympathetic towards property owners in Easton Bavents whose homes were threatened by erosion, but feared that building the new houses would spoil the character of Reydon Smere.

Among them was Ian Johnson, who said: 'Rissemere Lane is to Reydon what The Common is to Southwold. Would you dream of coming up with a scheme that would build on The Common?'

A spokesman for Waveney Pathfinder, which had representatives at the meeting, said: 'From feedback we have received, and having listened to the opinion of residents at last week's public meeting, it is clear that there are strong views about the suggested scheme that we must consider very carefully. The project board met on Wednesday and unanimously agreed that progress can only be made with the collaboration and engagement of all interested parties. We will now seek the best way to achieve this.'

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