Fresh ideas put forward for multi-million pound business hub plans
PUBLISHED: 11:30 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:08 21 January 2020
Alternative proposals to controversial plans to build an enterprise hub in a seaside Suffolk town are to be presented at a town council meeting next week.
The plans for the Southwold Enterprise Hub, also known as the Station Yard Development project, were approved by councillors in 2018 in an attempt to introduce up to 90 new jobs to the town.
However, the proposals sparked a backlash from the community, as they would see multiple businesses, including a garage and shop, displaced.
In response, a 'working group' consisting of town councillors and other interested parties was set up to develop alternative plans - it will put forward its business plan in a full town council meeting on Tuesday, January 28.
Town councillor David Beavan said the new proposals would be able to accommodate the businesses currently at the site.
He said: "Hopefully the other town councillors will agree with the alternative plans, which will mean the businesses can stay.
"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
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"I hope the town council have a good look at it and do the right thing."
The venture to create an enterprise hub in Southwold is expected to cost nearly £3million and has been part-funded by a £995,000 grant from the Coastal Communities Fund.
The initial proposals included building a complex of 15 office spaces and retail units.
However, the businesses at the proposed location of the hub - on the corner of Blyth Road and Station Road - would need to be demolished.
Southwold town mayor Ian Bradbury defended the move, saying: "We will have time to try to accommodate the businesses affected, if at all possible."
Despite Mr Bradbury's claims, Mr Beavan said: "They had been promised new leases for years, but clearly there was no intention to do so."
Southwold residents rallied against the plans in the form of a petition, which attracted 250 signatures in the first 24 hours.
Shortly after, the town council agreed to create the working group, who will present fresh plans at next week's council meeting.
The group has been allowed up to £1,000 of town council funding to pay for the time of business consultant Sheila Moss King.