Erosion of liberty for beach nudists
It has been a haven for naturists for more than 30 years, but now one of Britain's first nudist beaches is set to be axed because of coastal erosion.Council bosses say erosion has had such a devastating impact on the beach in Corton, near Lowestoft, that the nudist section should now be turned over for general use.
It has been a haven for naturists for more than 30 years, but now one of Britain's first nudist beaches is set to be axed because of coastal erosion.
Council bosses say erosion has had such a devastating impact on the beach in Corton, near Lowestoft, that the nudist section should now be turned over for general use.
Waveney District Council says the public will be consulted before any decision is made, but the move sparked an angry response from the British Naturism organisation, which has not ruled out taking legal action.
In a report to councillors, Waveney's strategic director Stephen Archer says: “The nudist beach was founded by Waveney District Council in the mid 1970s. It was one of the first nudist beaches in the country.
“At the time, Corton village had a long sandy beach, servicing both the local residents and large numbers of visitors that stayed in a number of holiday parks on the cliffs.
“As a result there was plenty of beach available to residents and visitors who did not want to go on to the [nudist] beach. It is now the case that residents and visitors have little or any beach access without encroaching into the designated nudist area.”
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Members of Waveney District Council's cabinet will be asked to give the go-ahead to the launch of a public consultation exercise after hearing that the beach at Tibbenhams Score, to the north of the nudist beach, has significantly eroded over the past 20 years.
In 1988, the width of the beach to the average sea level was 34 metres, but this had reduced to 25 metres in 1998 and now stands at just seven metres.
“This represents an 80pc reduction in available beach,” adds Mr Archer's report. “The communities of Corton have, therefore, very little beach left for recreational purposes.
“It is therefore proposed that the nudist beach be de-designated, so allowing families and others free access to this beach area.”
Malcolm Boura, a Suffolk-based official with British Naturism, insisted the nudist beach at Corton had “clothes optional” status, meaning anyone could use it.
Mr Boura, who said Corton was his local nudist beach, said: “We are dismayed to learn of this. There is absolutely nothing stopping other people from using the beach.
“We see this as unnecessary. If they decided to move the designated area, we would have no objection to that, but we would be really very upset if there was to be no alternative provision. It would mean there was no designated beach between Holkham and Brighton.
“If they go ahead with this, then we would come under a lot of pressure to do something effective about it. We would look at legal action as very much the last resort, but we certainly wouldn't rule it out.”
Mr Boura, who is the research and liaison officer for British Naturism, said he planned to consult colleagues before making contact with Waveney District Council.
He added: “By and large, the public is pretty much behind us. On things like this, there is a small minority of people who get upset about naturism, but these views carry weight out of proportion to their numbers.”
A spokesman for Waveney District Council said: “This is just about a lack of available beach space.”
Waveney District Council's cabinet will meet at Lowestoft Town Hall from 7pm on Thursday.