Before the first block of carrstone was laid in his new town of Hunstanton St Edmund, Henry le Strange had drawn up a plan, showing exactly how he intended the buildings to be arranged round The Green.
His successors ensured that this triangle of public open space, sweeping gently towards The Wash, remained free from development of any kind.
Henry’s son, Hamon departed slightly from his father’s plan by allowing a pier to be built in 1868; but conditions in the 999-year lease stipulated that the pier entrance building should be confined to a specific area, not to be used for any other purpose whatsoever.
Further protection came with a Covenant, imposed by Bernard le Strange in July 1955 when the Lower Green was sold to Hunstanton Urban District Council. This makes it clear that the inhabitants of Hunstanton are the beneficiaries.
Unfortunately, the council failed to act in its interest when the pier entrance was allowed to extend well beyond the area specified in the pier lease.
In 2003 the situation went from bad to worse, when even more land was leased to developers by the borough council in order to permit the erection of the entertainment centre we see today.
However, there is growing recognition that the status quo need not be tolerated. Town councillors are becoming increasingly annoyed by the number of planning applications being submitted by the owner of the entertainment centre, for more doors, larger sales windows and a proliferation of intrusive advertising.
There are signs that the inhabitants – whose interests have been ignored for too long – are fighting back. Planting trees is a far cry from dismantling the entertainment centre, but it does draw public attention to the fact that Henry le Strange intended that trees should be planted on The Green.
Planting trees could actually be the first step towards restoring The Green to its former glory. The next step might require rather more in the way of money, which is why the Heritage Lottery Fund has been approached!
Earlier this year the Lottery fund rejected a bid to restore the pier, because there is not enough of the pier left; but there is plenty of The Green left.
So, perhaps, the Heritage Lottery Fund will favourably consider a project intended to restore the whole of The Green in accordance with the plan conceived by Henry le Strange for Hunstanton St Edmund…