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Anger from naturists over beach action

PUBLISHED: 08:37 30 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:06 05 July 2010

AN organisation representing naturists has strongly criticised the way a local council is handling plans to axe a nudist beach on the north Suffolk coast.

AN organisation representing naturists has strongly criticised the way a local council is handling plans to axe a nudist beach on the north Suffolk coast.

British Naturism (BN) is angry it did not get the chance to comment before Waveney District Council tabled proposals to de-register the nudist beach at Corton because of coastal erosion. Its frustration grew after it sent an e-mail to the council commenting on the plans the day after the threat to the beach was revealed, but did not receive a reply for a further 13 days.

The council is set to launch a two-month consultation exercise from next month, but Malcolm Boura, the research and liaison officer for BN, said: “While we've got a certain amount of sympathy with the problem of beach erosion, all they have succeeded in doing so far is to make people extremely angry. The way they have gone about it is most unfortunate. We could have helped them avoid making mistakes.

“They are saying other people and families can't use the beach, but that is nonsense. It is a clothes-optional beach. We found that statement very offensive and, in particular, naturist families found it extremely offensive. We are not getting anywhere with them.”

Waveney council proposed returning the nudist section to general use after research showed there had been an 80pc reduction in the beach at Tibbenhams Score, to the north of the site, over the past two decades.

Mr Boura said BN could look into the possibility of legal action in the future, adding: “We are not ruling anything in or anything out.”

Meanwhile, Waveney's plans, which appeared in The Journal on December 12, have made headlines across Britain and around the world, with media in countries such as China, Australia and South Africa following up the story.

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said: “The consultation period has been agreed for the very purpose of ensuring that the views of residents and visitors to the beach are given proper consideration.

“There will be more than enough time for anyone with a view to take part and we look forward to receiving a wide range of opinions on our proposals.”

The spokesman added: “In terms of the information presented to the public so far, we have been at pains to ensure that the current arrangements are communicated clearly and our report does not suggest that non-naturists cannot visit the beach. Whether they choose to or not is entirely up to them.”

David Butcher, chairman of Corton Parish Council, said: “Our argument is that many local people and those with young children feel, rightly or wrongly, disenfranchised from that part of the beach. It should be returned, with the relocation of the naturist beach.”

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