Beauty spot to get �230k facelift

ONE of Suffolk's best-known beauty spots is to get a �230,000 facelift to breathe new life into its ancient character.

Paul Geater

ONE of Suffolk's best-known beauty spots is to get a �230,000 facelift to breathe new life into its ancient character.

The Hard in front of the Butt and Oyster is set to be restored in a move which will tidy up the area and also create space for Thames sailing barges to be restored and maintained.

Once the work on The Hard is completed boats will be able to be launched and recovered from the Orwell even at low water and the stream that runs parallel to it will be able to be used to launch dinghies.

Before agreement to carry out the work could be completed agreement had to be sought between many different organisations - many of which had not spoken to each other before.

A “not for profit” management company is being set up to carry out the work to The Hard and to manage it into the future.

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Most of the funding for the scheme has come from the Haven Gateway project with other contributions coming from Babergh council, local businesses and clubs, the National Trust and Chelmondiston Parish Council.

The river below high water mark is officially owned by Ipswich Borough Council, and agreement had to be reached with it before the work could be approved.

The borough eventually gave the go-ahead to the proposal earlier this month.

Now the funding has been agreed, work should start on the project before the end of March - it has to start before the end of the financial year to ensure the cash from the Haven Gateway project is still available.

Babergh council was told that the final agreement had been reached - a move that was welcomed by long-serving councillor Penny Clarke.

She said: “I am delighted this has finally all been agreed. It has been a very long while coming and it has taken a lot of effort.

“I know that a lot of groups involved in these discussions had never really talked to each other before this so it is great news that we finally have a total agreement.”

The Babergh team was lead by Bryn Hurren whose work was praised by fellow councillor Brian Lazenby.

He said: “There were times when none of us thought it would be possible to get everyone together like this but now we are finally able to go ahead with this project. It will make a huge difference to Pin Mill.”

The Hard facts:-

- It took nearly five years to get the funding to improve The Hard.

- Agreement with various parties took another year.

- Ipswich Council owns the river below high water mark down to the sea - a legacy from rights given by the Crown in the 16th century.

- Work on The Hard is due to start in the third week of March.

- Work to create a repair yard for barges will start later in the summer.