Outrage at plans to lease out the Naze

Essex County Standard: Delyth Miles and residents Sue Bate, David Evans and Charlotte Martin, who are opposed to the plans. Delyth Miles and residents Sue Bate, David Evans and Charlotte Martin, who are opposed to the plans.

PLANS to lease Walton’s famous Naze area to a third party have sparked outrage.

Tendring Council is considering leasing 45 hectares of open space at the top of the Naze cliffs to Essex Wildlife Trust.

A 99-year lease has been proposed, which would see the trust take over management of the site.

The trust was recently granted permission to build a £1million visitor and education centre at the Naze, and says a lease has been requested so it can complete the project.

But there are fears the lease could lead to unwelcome restrictions being placed on the site.

Walton councillor Delyth Miles said: “I don’t think the public was aware this was the intention when that application came up.

“In the Sixties, taxpayers’ money was used to purchase the land and I am under the impression it must remain as an open space.

“It would be a travesty for us to hand over this glorious bit of land to a third party and give them control.

“They will want to run it as a wildlife sanctuary but that’s not what it should be. It is open land and should remain that way.”

Mrs Miles added: “We are the custodians of a grand estate and we should not just be handing that over to someone else.

“It was purchased for our residents to enjoy as they want to.

“It is a gem and should remain that way.”

Fellow Walton councillor Alec Moss said: “I was absolutely in favour and am still in favour of the information building being created by the wildlife trust on the Naze.

“However, I’m concerned at this development.

“I think a lot of people who were for the information centre were completely unaware that we would be giving away our family jewels as well.”

Tendring Council says no restrictions will be put in place as a result of the lease changing hands.

Tendring Council leader Peter Halliday says it will help boost the facilities at the Naze – but no final decision has yet been made.

He said: “The Naze is a really important facility for those living in the district and visitors from further afield, and there is no way we would want to see their access restricted.

“However, going into partnership with Essex Wildlife Trust will make the most of a brilliant natural asset for the benefit of the district and help to share the costs with another organisation and provide affordable excellence at the site.”

The council is asking for comments before making a decision and comments must arrive by December 19.

  • To have your say e-mail assets@tendringdc.gov.uk or write to Assets Manager, Tendring District Council, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton-on- Sea, C015 1SE.

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