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A Denes fuss way back then

PUBLISHED: 10:49 08 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:02 05 July 2010

LAST month, we turned the clock back on the North Denes in Lowestoft after it was revealed that camping would be returning to the rundown area of seafront land.

LAST month, we turned the clock back on the North Denes in Lowestoft after it was revealed that camping would be returning to the rundown area of seafront land.

We took a look at the history of the former council-run caravan park and saw how it grew dramatically in size, reaching 500 pitches in 1984, before its demise.

Now, we take a look at the much-debated site's pre-20th century history after Malcolm Andrews discovered an article from 1887 stating that the Gunton Hills and the Denes were for sale.

A letter in the Lowestoft Weekly News on November 12, 1887, said: “The question of preserving Gunton Hills and the Denes for the free uninterrupted use of the public must not be allowed to rest. What would Lowestoft people think if one fine day they read the announcement in the papers that this land had been sold to a speculating builder from London?

“The matter is a serious one and presses for immediate consideration by the municipal authorities. The land is on

the market and may be sold any day.

“It would destroy half the charm of Lowestoft if the Denes passed into the hands of people who cared nothing for the public sentiment.”

Taking up the story, Mr Andrews said: “The first portion of Gunton Denes was bought by the town in 1890/91. The council was then concerned about development which was taking place on the clifftop and wanted to put a stop to it so that the Denes should remain a public open space.

“A local government board, which held an inquiry into the matter at that time, was told that one of Lowestoft's most attractive features had been its proximity to Gunton Cliffs and Gunton Denes, which have always been unenclosed and open to the public.”

The land would continue to cause controversy when another row flared up regarding a plan to enclose part of the land to lay out the Denes cricket ground.

“This went ahead, but 1898 plans by developers to build houses on the slopes and foot of the cliff were overcome.

“This was only settled when the council bought the 16 acres of land for the princely sum of £26, a condition being that no buildings other than ornamental shelters should be erected on it.”


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