On the 12th May, 2018, an informal meeting was held at Southwold Sailing Club.
In attendance were concerned business and property owners from the immediate Southwold Harbour area.
It was decided that a group be formed to properly represent all the stakeholders and users, both professional and recreational, to ensure the harbour maintains its unique appeal today and into the future.
This group has two primary objectives;
1) To finally establish, beyond legal doubt, ownership of the Southwold Harbour Lands. See our analysis
2) To challenge Waveney District Council (WDC) on all aspects of their New Delivery Model relating to the future control of Southwold Harbour, with the aim of convincing WDC to abandon this model and revert to the March 2015 Agreement.
On 18 March 2015 Waveney District Council (WDC), Southwold Town Council (STC), agreed to set up a charitable
company, the Harbour Trust, to become the new governance arrangement for the running of the Harbour lands.
Despite the fact that the the decision of the joint committee was to be binding on both councils, WDC reneged on the agreement. (See the agreement)
On 13 December 2017, at Stella Peskett hall, Southwold, WDC presented their New Delivery Model (NDM), for the future running of the Harbour lands.
This NDM was promulgated by WDC without consultation with any other parties. The NDM, again presented at Buckenham Galleries on 20 January 2018 (attached), states that WDC plans to set up two Local Authority Trading Companies (LATCs), one to run the Harbour (the Harbour Company) and the second to run the Caravan Park, with each company to have eight directors.
Each company will have one share, owned by WDC. Whilst STC will be allowed to nominate four directors to each company board, the shareholder has the final say as to the make up of the two boards.
In addition WDC will be applying to the Secretary of State for Transport to have the Harbour Company named as the ‘Corporation’ for the purpose of the Harbour Order 1933 (extract attached).
This consent will effectively pass ownership of the Harbour Lands to WDC.
In 2003, WDC attempted to sell the Southwold Caravan Park to the highest bidder.
The sale was halted when WDC conceded that they were not, in fact, the owners of the caravan park.
If the Secretary of State for Transport consents to pass control of the Harbour Lands to WDC, then WDC, as the new owners of the caravan park, would be able to sell the asset.
This act could potentially change the Harbour, as we now know it, irrevocably.
At present, under the Harbour Order 1933, ‘the Corporation’ means the mayor alderman and burgesses (inhabitants) of the Borough of Southwold.
Our aim is to maintain the status quo by convincing WDC to revert to the March 2015 agreement, which is still legally binding.