Southwold and Reydon Society News

October 2018

“…without the Bailey Bridge we should not have won the war.” (Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery).

Well, at least Monty didn’t have to face up to Suffolk County Council through a thick smoke-screen. Recent bulletins and meetings have begged a number of questions – “Why?” - as in “Why did maintenance inspections not see this coming?” and “When?” – as in “When do we get our bridge back?”. The official response is no comfort to those who need to use the bridge to earn a living or to those who depend on it to bring them customers. This poses a serious problem for businesses and an inconvenience for visitors. To be mildly technical, I understand that a number of types of Bailey bridge (all hail to Sir Donald Coleman Bailey, 1901-1985) can span up to 240 feet without interim supports. To be mildly facetious, there are quite a few Bailey’s going second-hand on the internet. Perhaps we should crowd-fund a radical solution.

In the meantime, we are pleased that pressure from representatives of Southwold, Reydon and Walberswick Parish Councils led Suffolk County Council to extend their interim support for alternative travel for those directly affected by the bridge closure. SCC also agreed to report back later in the month when their investigations are complete. Hopefully a speedy means can be found to reopen the bridge.

The Bridge was one of the topics discussed at our October meeting, much of which was taken up by a visit from representatives of Anglian Water. Readers who have not yet had their breakfast should look away at this point – flooding and foul water, odours and outfalls, sludge and septic sewage were all on the agenda. Anglian tell us that the treatment plant has never reached 80% of capacity (whatever that may be) and that current maintenance together with the aeration of the system should reduce nasty odours, with a target date of March, 2019. The possible effects of additional homes and residents on what appears to be a system under strain are still disturbingly unclear. We will meet with Anglian Water in April to assess progress.

Our planning review, inevitably, included discussion of the St Felix and Station Yard developments. In each case, much remains to be finalized and argued over. The conditions attaching to the former are neither fixed nor clear. The finances of the latter are complex and dependent on successful grant aid. There’s still a long way to go for them both.

On a more, hopefully, picturesque note: we recently drew the Southwold Mayor’s attention to the state of the “wild” garden in Ferry Road. The Mayor has asked for volunteers to maintain it. We are happy to pass this on, but have asked that the unsightly rubble be removed beforehand.

And two cheery items:

Firstly, the SARS annual lunch takes place on the 14th November. It’s a good opportunity for members, old and new, to socialise and to hear our distinguished guest speaker, Paul Heiney. If you haven’t booked yet…….there are still places.

Secondly, it’s that time of year, again…we are inviting nominations for our Excellence Awards. Do you know a person or organization deserving local recognition for the good they have done (seen or unseen)? Well, now’s your chance to do something about it. Nomination forms can be found on our website ( or you can call Brian Harrild on 01502 724298. The closing date is 31st January.

Ridley Burnett, Chairman.