Turnstone, by John Maiden, May 31, 2016

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Apparently some visitors to Hunstanton will actually miss the so-called ‘butterfly’ Shelters between The Green and the esplanade gardens.

According to the Lynn News report on May 20, one such visitor is Elizabeth Nockolds, the borough council’s cabinet member for culture, heritage and health.

She is quoted as saying: “These shelters are quite iconic in Hunstanton and have always been fairly well used.”

Well, it is sometimes said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but ‘culture’ and ‘heritage’ are not represented in these examples of ‘swingeing’ Sixties tasteless architecture, when truly iconic buildings were being knocked down to make way for similar mundane structures. of which the butterfly shelters are typical.

When it comes to health, surely there is poetic justice in the fact that they are suffering from concrete ‘rot’ and must put down in the name of public safety. My only hope is that concrete rot is infectious and will spread to that larger and even more incongruous monstrosity, where our iconic pier once graced the equally iconic space known as The Green.

Come to think of it, the original intention behind revamping this area was to reflect Henry le Strange’s original vision for his sea bathing village of St Edmund. Surely that would include upholding the Covenant imposed by Bernard le Strange in 1955? This clearly prohibits the erection of any building on The Green other than a single-storey 
entrance to Hunstanton 
Pier.

Unfortunately, the borough council does not have a good track record when it comes to upholding covenants or respecting the Hunstanton Conservation Area, which takes in the whole of The Green, including the promenade. For my sins, as a Hunstanton town councillor, I served with Elizabeth on what was known as the Joint Management of The Green committee for five whole years and, throughout this time, I failed to persuade her that The Green was not confined to a much smaller area enclosed within a red line on a map, drawn up by the legal service manager to prevent the committee from doing anything remotely useful.

More recently, it has been revealed that my application on behalf of Hunstanton & District Civic Society to have the non-pier building Listed as an Asset of Community Value is being blocked by the same cabinet member for culture, heritage and health. One of the reasons given for this negative response is that the site has not been used recently for its original purpose. In the context of the 999-year Lease for Hunstanton Pier, the entrance building was used for 110 years out of a possible 148, which I think is a pretty good argument. When one considers the borough council’s failure to enforce any of the covenants, provisos and conditions in the Pier Lease, I would argue that the case has not only been made as far as an Asset of Community Value is concerned, it should also provide a very good reason for the borough council to use powers of compulsory purchase to acquire the non-pier building and transform it into something quite iconic…

“In response to your email below, Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds, Health and Well-Being portfolio holder, in consultation with a member of the Policy team (in the absence of the Policy and Partnerships Manager) makes the decision as to whether to list an asset or 
not.” (Quote from an email sent to me by Jackie Squires, the Project Officer).