February 1 2015 Latest news:
Saturday, January 4, 2014
A proposal to reinstate “historic town” status for three coastal communities in north Essex has been welcomed.
Tendring District Council wants Harwich, Manningtree and St. Osyth to be given the special designation as part of suggested changes to its Local Plan – the authority’s planning blueprint.
The council had included the designation for the towns in its 2007 plan but had omitted it from its 2012 version. However, it is just about to begin consulting on a number of changes to the plan and has proposed bringing back the status for the three communities. It decided to make the move after being asked to do so by several organisations.
One of these is Save Our St Osyth, a group set up to preserve the heritage of the area.
Treasurer Colin Westripp said ensuring “historic town” status for St Osyth will not only register its historical significance, it should also attract more visitors to the village.
He said: “I was surprised the council hadn’t originally included the status in its 2012 plan but I welcome its decision to do so now. It highlights St. Osyth as a place of historical significance and as a place of interest that people will want to visit.
“There is plenty of historical interest in St. Osyth – the Time Team archaeologists came here a decade or so ago and found the remains of a Saxon settlement down by the boat yard.
“We also have the Priory building in the centre of the village which dates back the best part of 1,000 years.
Tendring’s new Local Plan also includes mention of the importance of the historic centres of Harwich, Manningtree and St. Osyth and states they are “sensitive to development pressures in much the same way as is the ecology of an environmentally important area”.
The council says it would expect proposals for development in these areas to be accompanied by a survey of both deposits below ground and surviving medieval buildings above it “in order to prevent the irreparable destruction of unique information concerning that community’s past”.
Public consultation on the plan starts on Monday and runs until Monday, February 17.