Turnstone, by John Maiden, January 19, 2016

cross no pier
cross no pier

In last Tuesday’s Lynn News David Newman criticised people who attack Turnstone without revealing their identity.

Unfortunately, David does himself no favours by boasting that he has been writing (mostly) abusive letters for years about John Maiden. There might be a grain of truth in his claim that I tend to regard some of those who disagree with me as half wits, but I believe in freedom of speech for my critics (including half wits) just as much as I do for those with whom I find myself in broad agreement.

When it came to the controversial Hopkins Homes planning application, I agreed with objections from Norfolk County Council; West Norfolk Council; Hunstanton Town Council; Heacham Parish Council; Hunstanton & District Civic Society; the Campaign to protect Rural England; and numerous individual objectors who will be adversely affected if the scheme goes ahead. Three of the four councils have since watered down their objections, so they now take the form of conditions to be met within a certain time frame. In the case of the town council, on which I served for five years, the original objection to a large housing estate on Redgate Hill has been diluted to the point where it is now reduced to merely sharing “the concerns of objectors to the proposed site access”.

This reflects widespread concern that a new roundabout on the A149 at the foot of Redgate Hill is likely to result in fewer people wanting to spend their time and money in Hunstanton. In fact, it might even persuade more tourists to take the A148 from Knights Hill and head to Wells, or take advantage of free parking on the Sandringham estate. One town councillor actually suggested that another roundabout on the A149 could strengthen the case for reinstating the Lynn to Hunstanton railway line!

Edward Wheatley’s viewpoint is easier to understand, because he is aware that in the absence of a pier, no other building should be permitted to spoil the appearance of The Green, which was bequeathed to the inhabitants of Hunstanton by Henry le Strange to be used as public open space in perpetuity.

West Norfolk Council has removed eyesores from conservation areas in Lynn, so it would be entirely reasonable to ask for similar action to remove the ‘hangar’ from our conservation area - if necessary by purchasing the building, which has been for sale since last August. The only reason for retaining this type of building in its present location would be to use it on a temporary basis as a workshop and warehouse whilst reinstating Hunstanton Pier. According to council leader Nick Daubney, the pier regeneration scheme was only put on hold in 2008 due to the recession; but if it has now been abandoned altogether, the inhabitants of Hunstanton would be fully justified in asking for ‘removal of the hangar’ to be included in the ‘Local Plan’ for the future of Hunstanton.

In the meantime, perhaps David Newman will agree with me that The Green looked at its best in 2002, when I took this photograph showing the unique expanse of public open space sweeping down to the sea, exactly as envisaged by Henry le Strange in the original plan for his new town of Hunstanton St Edmunds...