Clacton: Fears naked cyclists will spoil resort’s family-friendly reputation

Clacton is family-friendly resort, say councillors

Clacton is family-friendly resort, say councillors

Councillors have called for an end to naked events in their district saying they are spoiling the area’s “family friendly” reputation.

Naked cyclists pedalled through the seaside town

Naked cyclists pedalled through the seaside town - Credit: Archant

Leader of Tendring District Council (TDC), Peter Halliday, wants to put the brakes on nude gatherings after two have taken place in Clacton is as many months. In June, more than 100 bare bathers took part in a fund-raising skinny dip on behalf of Marie Curie Cancer Care near the resort while last Saturday around 35 naked cyclists participated in a 17-kilometre protest ride around the town.

It is the cycle event, in particular, that has concerned councillors, who say they have received complaints from traders and members of the public.

But the organiser of the cycle ride, Robert Brown, said the event was a legitimate protest and that he intends to hold another ride next year featuring up to 100 cyclists. Essex Police have confirmed the event was legal and that they were powerless to stop it going ahead.

Mr Brown said: “The event was to protest against car culture and the idea of riding naked is to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists. Being naked in public isn’t an offence in itself.

“Similar events are held in towns and cities around the world and across the UK in places like Brighton, Portsmouth and London. The London event attracts thousands of people and benefits shops and traders in the area.

“There were more people in favour of our event than against it. On Saturday we were given a huge cheer as we rode down the High Street.”

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But Mr Halliday said people cycling undressed through Clacton is not good for the town or district’s image and that if the council had any powers to have prevented the ride it would have done so.

“Clacton is a traditional family seaside resort and in my opinion people riding around on bikes with no clothes on does nothing to enhance our image – in fact it harms it,” he said.

“They did not apply to use land under our responsibility so there was little we could do other than work with other agencies on a bit of a damage limitation exercise

“However, I now want to get together with the Police and others round the table and come up with a plan to put a halt to naked events in our area before it all goes too far.”

But a spokesman for Essex Police said: “There has been precedent from similar events held in Brighton and London in the past and it was deemed that there were no legal grounds to prevent it going ahead.”