New plea to save historic tower

A SCHEME to protect an historic coastal landmark from the ravages of the sea looks set to receive council backing thanks to the efforts of local campaigners.

A SCHEME to protect an historic coastal landmark from the ravages of the sea looks set to receive council backing thanks to the efforts of local campaigners.

The Naze Tower, in Walton, is a Grade II* listed building but coastal erosion has eaten away at nearby cliffs and the building is now in danger of toppling into the sea within 20 years unless something is done.

Members of the Naze Protection Society (NPS) wants to extend a set of rocky sea defences to help combat the erosion and save the tower.

In the past public funding has been refused because the ongoing erosion will not affect any buildings other than the tower, its café and toilets.


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This time, however, the NPS is aiming to attract grants by combining the sea defence plans with a creation of a path aimed at promoting the geological interest of the site, named the “Crag Walk”.

And council officers have recommended that although Tendring District Council cannot support the plan financially, it should give technical help and back the organisation in its aims.

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The new proposal already has the backing of English Nature, which is keen for the cliff face to remain unspoilt.

And the NPS hopes that much of the £800,000 needed to safeguard the future of the site would come from Heritage Lottery funding.

The society has already accumulated donations of £160,000 from local people and tourists, much of which has come from a dedicated fundraising shop in the town.

Yesterday, however, NPS committee member and joint tower owner Michelle Nye Browne said that even if the council did back the proposals there would still be a long way to go before work could start.

She said: “The situation is that the next stage would be getting planning permission. The main thing is that it needs to be moved forward.

“It is a very well used and well loved building. From a tourism point of view it is important for Walton to have as many attractions as possible. The town depends on tourism.”

In his report to Tendring District Council's Cabinet, John Ryan, head of technical and procurement services, has recommended that “the council supports the principle of the proposals for a Crag Walk Heritage Project being put forward by the NPS Society and provides technical assistance to the society in developing the proposals into a fully funded and approved scheme.”

The tower, located on the north point of the Tendring peninsula, was extensively renovated in 2004 and opened to the public for the first time in its history. It has more than 100,000 visitors a year.

It was built by Trinity House in 1720 as a landmark for shipping along the Essex coastline.

For more information or to make donations to the society's campaign, visit www.savethenaze.com or call 01255 676868.

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