Anger as nudist beach to be closed

NATURISTS have flocked to its sands since the 1970s but now one of Britain's first nudist beaches is to be axed because of coastal erosion.

NATURISTS have flocked to its sands since the 1970s but now one of Britain's first nudist beaches is to be axed because of coastal erosion.

Waveney District Council has confirmed that following a three-month public consultation the naturist beach at Corton, near Lowestoft, will be de-designated with effect from November 1.

In a statement the council said it was committed to exploring suitable, alternative facilities for the naturist community.

But Malcolm Boura, research and liaison officer at the British Naturism organisation, last night hit out at the decision. He said: “This will come as a blow to our members and it is going to upset a lot of people. Obviously we are pleased it is not taking effect immediately, but to have made the decision before finding an alternative site is a cause for concern. We have got a few extra things to find out and then we will be making a decision about our options.

“I gather the decision was made primarily on the basis of the responses from local people but beaches are not a local matter, they are a national asset. We expect that people will keep using it and that it will continue to be a source of friction and bad feeling for a long time.”

A council spokesman said the original recommendation, presented last December, acknowledged the concerns of Corton residents regarding the lack of available beach space for non-naturists.

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“The naturist beach was founded by Waveney District Council in the mid-1970s and, at the time, Corton village had a long sandy beach which was used by locals and a large number of visitors,” said the spokesman.

“However, significant beach erosion during the past 20 years has led to a reduction of some 80pc of available beach space.

“Therefore, the communities of Corton and the visitors to this area have little or no beach to access, without entering the designated naturist area.”

Ken Sale, district council portfolio holder for the environment, said: “This decision was always going to be the right answer for some and the wrong one for others, but it was important that we weighed up all the facts and settled on an outcome which we believe is most appropriate.

“It is the responsibility of this council to represent and reflect the wishes of the district's communities and while there was clear support for the retention of the facility amongst respondents from around the country and abroad, nearly 90pc of responses from Corton and Lowestoft asked for de-designation.

“However, I was very grateful for the time I spent with representatives of British Naturism and I have the utmost respect for their wish to peacefully pursue their lifestyle choices. Therefore, the decision to de-designate comes with two important caveats.

“First, the decision will not be implemented until November, which will give British Naturism the time they need to ensure all their members are made aware of the changes. It will also enable us to place signage on the beach which will inform visitors of the impending changes. Second, Waveney will undertake to explore potential alternative sites which are suitable for naturists but which are not currently affected by the erosion issues we have in Corton.”