Appointments made to committee formed to manage threatened harbour

The Southwold Harbour repairs aim to make it safer for boats using it. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

The new Southwold Harbour Management Committee will look after the attraction's operations - Credit: Nick Butcher

Four independent community members have been appointed to the newly-formed committee which will be responsible for the day-to-day running of Southwold Harbour.

The harbour, a popular tourist attraction in the Suffolk coastal town, is under threat due to rising sea levels.

Its north pier fender is also damaged and in need of repair to protect boats navigating to and from the Blyth Estuary.

A repair project at a cost of up to £1.1million - funded from existing East Suffolk Council capital budgets and reserves - was approved last November.

In March, East Suffolk and Southwold Town Council agreed to form a Harbour Management Committee (HMC), which will be in charge of the harbour's operations.

The decision to form the HMC came after law firm Ashfords said a committee of an equal split of councillors and independent members of the community would be required to pass the Harbour Order of 1933.

Of the nine-person committee, five will be members of East Suffolk's cabinet - Craig Rivett, James Mallinder, Maurice Cook, David Ritchie and Letitia Smith.

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The other four members were chosen by the cabinet after interviews for the positions were conducted in May.

They have now been announced as Alistair MacFarlane, David Gledhill, Richard Musgrove and Mike Pickles.

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The appointments were agreed by an appointments panel consisting of East Suffolk leader Steve Gallant, Southwold Town Council's Ian Bradbury and specialist consultant Lucy Parsons.

The appointments will formally be ratified by East Suffolk’s cabinet on June 1.

Mr Gallant described the interview process as "thorough and transparent" and said the HMC would help protect the attraction's future.

East Suffolk Council leader Steve Gallant has reminded people why to practice social distancing Pic

Steve Gallant, leader of East Suffolk Council, said the committee would safeguard the harbour's future - Credit: Archant

He said: "I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to appoint a fantastic group of individuals with a wide range of appropriate skills and experience, to the first ever Southwold Harbour Management Committee.

"The appointments process was thorough and transparent, and each appointee needed to fulfil a clear and strict skills audit to ensure their suitability for such an important role.

"This is a really exciting time for Southwold Harbour, and we have been working tirelessly to secure its future. This is the latest step on that important journey."

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