Residents turn the other cheek to prospect of nudist beach

THE bare-faced cheek of it!The prospect of a nudist beach at the genteel and popular resort of Southwold received short shrift by tourists and locals yesterday.

Anthony Bond

THE bare-faced cheek of it!

The prospect of a nudist beach at the genteel and popular resort of Southwold received short shrift by tourists and locals yesterday.

Waveney District Council is currently looking for a new naturist beach after coastal erosion at the current beach at Corton, near Lowestoft, reduced the amount of sand available for sunbathers.

Southwold ticks many of the boxes which are required for a nudist beach, including adequate parking, transport provision and good access to the beach.

However, it was apparent yesterdaythat one box which most definitely is not ticked is support from the local community and tourists visiting the town.

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Joe Annis, who works as a lifeguard in the town, said: “Personally it would not bother me but the people of Southwold would go ballistic. People here would probably have a heart attack if you even suggested it.

“I suppose it depends where it is sited, you cannot really site it on the main beaches here because they are small and we have such a large amount of visitors it would not be fair to children and families.”

Jane Pattison, 43, who is a primary school teacher from London, said: “I do not want to look at other people's bits. I have a friend who likes swimming free, so I think that she would appreciate it. But it is not for me, I am too square.”

David Bush, 59, from London, added: “It is a bit staid so maybe not, but somewhere away from the main beach would not be a problem.”

Also against the idea is 54-year-old Stephen Gregory, from Upminster in Essex, who regularly holidays in the town. “My personal view on it is that this is a family resort and if you look around you can see lots of young children and I do not think that it would be very appropriate.”

Rob Stacey, 44, who is a social services manager from Leicester, said: “It is very conservative this place and I think people do not take very well to change here, something like that would not go down too well.”

Justin Long, 27, from Bury St Edmunds, said a nudist beach would have to be very discreet. “Southwold is too upmarket, in the nicest possible way,” he said.

Sue Doy, mayor of Southwold, said: “I have got nothing against it in principle but I would not want to use it and I do not think that Southwold has room for it because it is so crowded with holiday makers.

She added: “I have never been on a nudist beach to be honest. I would not consider it at my age.”

A spokesperson for Waveney District Council said: “We have contacted representatives of all the local communities, right along our coast, to ask for their views on the potential relocation of the naturist facility. This is just the start of our inquiries and at this stage we are 'fact-finding'.''