Beauty spot to be sacrificed to the sea

By Juliette MaxamA COASTAL beauty spot looks likely to be left to crumble away - despite years of campaigning to save it and hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on sea defence schemes.

By Juliette Maxam

A COASTAL beauty spot looks likely to be left to crumble away - despite years of campaigning to save it and hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on sea defence schemes.

Scientists have predicted the Naze peninsula at Walton will disappear into the sea in the next 20 to 30 years, with the café and Napoleonic watchtower due to be lost too.

For years campaigners have been battling to save the Naze, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with rare birds and wildlife attracting thousands of visitors each year.


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But Tendring District Council is expected next week to make the unpopular decision to allow the Naze to be claimed by the sea.

The Engineering and Physical Science Research Council has just reported the findings of a three-year in-depth study of erosion at the Naze to the council.

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In the last four years the council has spent £250,000 on tipping 3,000 tonnes of rock at the south end of the Naze to protect the Naze and the sea wall as the first phase of the Three Hard Point Scheme. This latest study claims the remaining two phases of this scheme are flawed.

The research found the best course of action, in line with current coast protection and flood protection thinking, is to allow nature to take its course, as there are few buildings and no people at risk. The nearest homes, in Hall Lane, are safe from the ravages of the sea for 100 years.

But there is a glimmer of hope for the 1720 Naze Tower, as scientists suggested some limited reinforcement of the existing sea wall would save the base of the cliff underneath the tower, although this scheme would cost up to £600,000 over the next 20 years, with an initial outlay of £350,000.

The scheme is dependent on approval from English Nature, as the cliff area is a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest due to fossils revealed by erosion.

David Gager, chairman of the Naze Protection Society, which has raised £80,000 to save the Naze, said: “As far as we are concerned no-one really wants to do anything.

“It's very, very disappointing for the public. There's a great public open space and natural beauty spot and it's going to be lost. What value do you put on public open space? How much would it cost them to create a public open space? The public generally have been let down.”

Tendring District Council's cabinet is due to discuss the issue and decide what action to take on Wednesday.

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk

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