Parish to protect fishing cottages

EFFORTS are under way to protect a rare and overlooked example of Hemsby's fishing heritage thought to date back more than two centuries. The collection of houses is perched on the sand dunes overlooking the sea and has become the focus of attempts to create a conservationarea.

EFFORTS are under way to protect a rare and overlooked example of Hemsby's fishing heritage thought to date back more than two centuries.

The collection of houses is perched on the sand dunes overlooking the sea and has become the focus of attempts to create a conservation

area.

Plans to protect the buildings, known as the Newport Cottages because of their location at the end of Newport Road, were prompted after an application was made by one of the homeowners for restructuring work.


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The idea of a conservation area was then put forward at the parish council, where it gained full approval, and there are now hopes the buildings could be protected in less than nine months.

Shirley Weymouth, borough councillor for the area, emphasised the role of parish councillor Jack Bensly in pushing the idea forward.

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She said: “The cottages are part of Hemsby's heritage and they're near enough in the same state they were long ago.

“We need to protect the area, as I would say it's the only area around here that has roughly remained the same for such a long time.”

Parish council vice-chairman Lyndon Bevan said they did not want to put obstacles in the way of the homeowners, but believed future improvements to the properties should be in keeping with the present style.

Within the proposed area there are three beach pebble constructed cottages, thought once to house a small fishing community, as well a larger white house that was once

a pub.

A recent appeal for old pictures of the houses, which would form a part of the council's decision-making process, was answered with photos from 85-year-old Audrey McDermott.

Mrs McDermott was born in one of the cottages and spent her early life there, much like the generations that came before her.

She said: “I know our family lived in those houses as far back as my great grandfather and the cottages are lovely. I really think they should be preserved.”

It is hoped that once these old photographs are sent in to the borough council, they will kickstart a process which would include consulting the public, with a final decision made at cabinet level hopefully within the year.

Borough conservation officer Darren Barker is enthusiastic about retaining the character of the buildings and will be putting together an appraisal over the next month.

He said: “It's quite rare to see the survival of such a place ...it's quite an important spot.”

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