Turnstone, January 31, 2017 by John Maiden

parade by the USAF 67th Special Operations Squadron to mark the 60th anniversary of its activation at RAF Sculthorpe in November 1952.
parade by the USAF 67th Special Operations Squadron to mark the 60th anniversary of its activation at RAF Sculthorpe in November 1952.

Last week’s Turnstone column produced a response from one member of the Coastal Community Team (CCT), also known as Hunstanton Prosperity.

In an email, he said it was wrong of me to blame the borough council for failing to rid the green of the butterfly shelters.

The decision was taken by the CCT in April/May 2016 before a final bid went to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The borough council had simply endorsed the decision.

According to the email, the borough council is not refusing to rid the green of the butterfly shelters. The CCT is, because the HLF said, in no uncertain terms, “if you want our money, they stay”. So the CCT agreed.

There is not sufficient space to reproduce the email in full. Perhaps the author will repeat his assertions in a letter to the Lynn News, but he did say things that seemed to be at variance with the report of Lynn’s CCT (Lynn News, January 20).

This article explained the Government’s reasons for establishing CCTs, which are at odds with the autonomous role of Hunstanton’s team.

The ultimatum concerning the butterfly shelters should have been challenged by the CCT, on the grounds that repairing the dilapidated shelters makes it impossible to restore the Victorian and Edwardian character of the green in line with the vision of Henry le Strange.

A news release issued by the borough, not the CCT, reads as follows: “A £1.3 million project to celebrate the vision of the founder of Hunstanton’s seaside park – Henry Styleman Le Strange – has taken a big step forward with the appointment of a contractor for the capital work.”

This is an insult to Henry and the highly-acclaimed architects responsible for turning his vision (for the whole town) into reality.

It is also evidence of the way HLF money is to be used on “planned enhancements” rather than restoration of the green and Esplanade Gardens.

There will be an opportunity to meet the appointed contractor, and put questions to a panel at the Golden Lion hotel on Thursday, between 5pm and 8pm.

It is rather late in the day, in more ways than one, but, if enough people turn up and ask the right questions, perhaps the HLF and the Big Lottery Fund will realise that members of the CCT were not representing local public opinion when they decided not to rid the green of shelters which breach a legally-binding covenant imposed by the le Strange Estate prohibiting the siting of permanent buildings in this area.

Today marks the 64th anniversary of the floods, which cut short the lives of 31 people, including some of my former classmates.

Maria Rix has made a splendid wreath to lay at the memorial today. Hopefully, it will still be in its present position on Reis Leming Way later this year, when we celebrate the 65th anniversary of the USAF 67th Special Operations Squadron, whose members played such a key role on that fateful night 64 years ago.