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'Merits' of alternative hub plans to controversial development to be discussed

PUBLISHED: 19:01 13 February 2020

The site where the enterprise hub is intended to be built. Inset, town mayor Ian Bradbury Picture: GOOGLE MAPS/VICTORIA PERTUSA

The site where the enterprise hub is intended to be built. Inset, town mayor Ian Bradbury Picture: GOOGLE MAPS/VICTORIA PERTUSA

Archant

Community leaders are set to clash as they prepare to debate controversial plans to create an enterprise hub in a Suffolk seaside town.

Community leaders are set to clash again as they prepare to debate controversial plans to create an enterprise hub in a Suffolk seaside town.

Southwold Town Council will consider alternative plans for the Southwold Enterprise Hub - also known as the Station Yard Development project - on Tuesday, February 18.

The meeting has been switched from the town hall to the Methodist Church Hall in Cumberland Road due to the expected large public presence.

The enterprise hub scheme is expected to cost nearly £3million and has been part-funded by a £995,000 grant from the government's Coastal Communities Fund.

It dates back to summer 2018, when Southwold town councillors approved the project to redevelop several buildings in the town into a business hub.

The proposals included demolishing several buildings on the corner of Station Road and Blyth Road, currently occupied by businesses, and building retail spaces, offices and apartments in their place.

Community leaders argued that the hub would lead to the creation of up to 90 new jobs in the town.

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Many Southwold residents have been long opposed to the project - including owners of a car garage and convenience store at the current site, who said they have not been assured of being relocated.

In response, a 'working group' consisting of town councillors and other interested parties was set up to develop alternative plans to present to the town council.

Town councillor David Beavan, who has backed the business owners who would be displaced if original plans received the go-ahead, said the alternative option would be able to accommodate the current occupants of the site.

Ian Bradbury, town mayor of Southwold, said next Tuesday's meeting was a chance for the council to discuss the "merits" of the alternative proposals.

He said: "We have to make sure we do this properly and deliver a decision that's right for the town."

Mr Bradbury added that there was no guarantee a final decision on the hub plans would be made at the meeting.

Mr Beavan said: "I expect the protagonists of the office plan will be pushing for a rejection of the alternative next week."

The meeting begins at the church hall at 7pm on Tuesday.

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