March 12 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Town councillors want to be included in a proposed contract to manage a popular area of open space on the north Essex coast.
Members of Frinton and Walton Town Council say it is important they have a say in how the Naze at Walton is run following proposals that Essex Wildlife Trust be offered a lease to manage the site.
The trust is in negotiations with Tendring District Council over the management of Walton’s historic Naze after it was recently given planning permission to build a £1m education centre on the site.
The district council is considering granting a 99-year lease to the trust to look after the 45 hectares and has put the proposals out for public consultation.
But the plans have met with opposition from a large number of people who currently use the site for a range of activities from dog-walking to kite-flying. They fear the trust’s intention is to turn parts of the land into a nature reserve – limiting the areas where people are free to roam.
The trust refutes these claims and says it wants to “look after the site for everyone’s benefit and enjoyment”.
But members of Frinton and Walton Town Council say they weren’t told about the plan that affects land on their doorstep - and that in the future they feel they should be consulted on any decisions about the Naze’s future in order to “keep an eye on it”.
Mayor Iris Johnson said council members would like to see this condition stipulated in any lease agreement.
She said: “ We weren’t consulted at the time and were taken aback but from what I have read I don’t have too much of a problem with what is being proposed.
“I haven’t seen the full lease document but I haven’t seen any mention of restrictions for people using the Naze. I think some people have made suppositions about what Essex Wildlife Trust intends to do.
“But we’d like the town council to be on the lease to keep an eye on it. People here appreciate the Naze for all sorts of reasons and we are very protective of it.”