Quay to the town - Beccles takes back control of prized community asset after 44 years
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A key part of Beccles’ heritage has been restored to its rightful owners as the town took back control over one of its most iconic pieces of real estate.
Beccles Quay was returned to Beccles Town Council today (Monday, October 1), 44 years after Waveney District Council (WDC) took hold of the asset.
The quay is now owned by Beccles Fenland Charity Trust – with the town council the sole trustee.
Mayor Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw branded the takeover as “really exciting” and spoke of the opportunities the venture opens up for the town.
She said: “Ultimately, as well as being a fantastic resource for the town and a place for local people to come and enjoy, we are the gateway to The Broads from the south.
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“And Beccles really should be on the map as part of that Broads tourism.
“Beccles Quay should have every opportunity to be the absolute best it can be, a delight for tourists, visiting friends, but most importantly residents. Here begins that.”
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She added: “It is a bit scary because we want to make this work and we want to make it great.
“It’s never going to get the kind of love and care it needs unless local people have the opportunity to do that directly.”
Graham Catchpole, WDC ‘s cabinet member for operational partnerships, oversaw the transfer and as a former Beccles mayor knew better than most the importance of the prized community asset
He said: “It’s worked really well, because I’ve got the Beccles hat on as well as the Waveney hat – the project has gone quite smoothly.
“We have had really good cooperation from WDC, from the town council and from Sentinel Leisure Trust.
“The cost of maintenance is going to be funded by WDC for the next three years. Waveney have given the trust £10,000 to help pay towards the management consultants - we are not just casting Beccles adrift there is a lot of support being done.
Mr Catchpole added: “This is the front door to Beccles, our tourist attraction and we want this to be sparkling, pristine and there for the future.”
With the handover complete Beccles Town Council are looking to the future of the quay.
For Beccles’ mayor, one of the most important areas of improvement in that of the children’s play equipment.
Mrs Brambley-Crawshaw said: “I personally really care about the play equipment in this area and I want that brought up to standard, but we need to improve the moorings, the toilets, all the facilities in the area and add to them as well.
“I want the ultimate wow factor, I want kids who live around here to come into this area and be so proud of what is there for them and I want people to visit the area to go onto that play equipment.
“I want it to be the absolute best it can be.
“It needs doing urgently because the play equipment there is rapidly deteriorating so actually that sets the time frame for us and it’s probably two years.”