Excitement over landmark plan for region

A MODERN steel structure depicting a church rising from the sea off the Essex coast could become a defining landmark for the Eastern region, it has been revealed.

A MODERN art structure depicting a church rising from the sea off the Essex coast could become a hazard for yachtsmen if it gets the go-ahead, it was warned yesterday.

Supporters of the “Lost Town” hope the multi-million pound project could become a defining landmark for the eastern region and also serve to highlight the damaging impacts of coastal erosion.

Designs show the structure would stand at more than 80ft tall, about a kilometre from Walton-on-the-Naze, possibly on the site of the medieval Church of All Saints which was lost to the sea in the late 18th Century.

But the Harwich Area Sailing Association, representing 25 organisations between Walton and Aldeburgh, said, depending on the final location, the large structure could be another hazard in what is already a busy stretch of water.

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Christopher Brooke, club secretary, said: “If it is one kilometre off the coast it will certainly be a hazard for navigation.

“It would be another obstacle to be negotiated in an area of sandbanks and such like - it worries me that they spent a long time looking at this plan for Dunwich for 18 months before deciding to come to Walton.”

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He said it was his personal view the money would be better spent investing in a structure to help prevent coastal erosion rather than just highlighting the issue.

“It could prevent further problems as well as becoming a landmark for the region,” he added.

But last night Terry Allen, leader of Tendring District Council, said the church was more likely to be a navigational aid to sailors.

“This will not be in the shipping lanes and not be in an area for yachting and there is not a fixed position for it yet.

“It will be a navigational aid and we hope it will be lit up at night and it will at least have something on there to warn sailors,” he said.

When the project was launched this month, David Gager, chairman of the Naze Protection Society, which has campaigned for years to preserve the Naze and raise the profile of the unique area, said: “We are looking forward to working together on this innovative project and welcome the opportunity to provide a lasting symbol for the lost heritage of the east coast of England.”

The feasibility study for the project was funded by the EEDA to help the team over the initial first hurdles involved with such developments.

n EEDA is hoping to gauge reaction to the scheme and anyone wanting to have their say should go to www.landmarkeast.org.uk.

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