In response to concerns raised about the future of the North Denes area of Lowestoft, the Leader of Waveney District Council has said that it is important to strike the right balance for the benefit of all.
Cllr Colin Law said:
"Since 2011 Tingdene, one of the country's leading mobile home and park lodge companies has successfully managed a popular holiday and static home site on land owned by Waveney District Council at North Denes in Lowestoft.
"The site has provided a new tourism offering to the previously neglected north end of the town and its popularity has, among other things, also helped bring much needed revenue to local businesses in the area.
"Subsequent to this, and on the basis of the success of this initial scheme, the Council has leased two further small areas, adjacent to the existing site, to Tingdene. However, it is clearly understood that if Tingdene are to carry out any further development on this land, the responsibility lays entirely with them to ensure that all and any necessary permissions are in place.
"At a time of huge financial challenge for local authorities, which has seen a seismic shift in public sector funding including reductions in central government support of over 40%, we must explore all opportunities to raise much needed funds. This includes the ongoing assessment of our limited assets, land and buildings to identify where income can contribute to funding priority frontline services in future, for our most vulnerable communities.
"However, there is absolutely no question of further land being leased to Tingdene beyond these two additional areas and suggestions that there are any plans to establish additional caravan placements across North Denes are completely without foundation. The majority of the North Denes area remains and will continue to be open, public space.
"We remain fully aware that some residents whose properties overlook the North Denes area, retain an interest in matters relating to the site, with ward councillors Stephen Ardley and Mary Rudd particularly keen to address certain concerns. Therefore, the Council intends to further explore these issues, to best achieve a balance between utilising our assets - for the benefit of all our communities - and the views of some local residents.
"However, while we understand that questions regarding the legality of the leases have been raised, we remain fully confident that the decisions we have taken are sound and permissible based on our ownership of the land."