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Turnstone: Hunstanton writer John Maiden discusses architecture in the seaside town over the years





In this week’s column, Hunstanton writer John Maiden discusses architecture in the seaside town…

Apologies to regular Turnstone readers for failing to ensure that last week's column arrived in time for publication.

The article that replaced Turnstone made me wish I had spent the last 20 years writing the Hunstanton equivalent of 'Coronation Street' or 'Last of the Summer Wine - on Sea'.

The Honeystone pub under construction in May 2013
The Honeystone pub under construction in May 2013

Never mind, there is always the possibility of a sequel to 'Barnacle Bill' - if I live long enough.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I must congratulate the developers of 'Styleman Court' on the west side of Southend Road, for winning a bronze award at the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) National Site Awards ceremony.

The development was recognised for its excellent standards and Lovell and the borough council created positive change in the community.

Railway Station site as it is now - a car park
Railway Station site as it is now - a car park

Perhaps my long memory is to blame for my misgivings about this development.

However, I seem to remember Wayne Hemingway and others describing all the land once occupied by the terminus of the Lynn to Hunstanton Railway as our town's crown jewels.

If there is any truth in this assertion, surely the view that deserved to be blocked off from view by Styleman Court, was the back side of Harlequin House, which is a real insult to the memory of Henry Styleman le Strange, if ever there was one.

Southend Road Appartments - an artist's impression from April 2022
Southend Road Appartments - an artist's impression from April 2022

One can only assume that the residents living in the Victorian cottages opposite the new development did not oppose the loss of their open aspect, which currently includes the far-from-attractive Oasis Leisure Centre.

Surely this eyesore must be due for a make-over, or a relocation to an alternative site in the very near future?

On the subject of objecting, I recently came across a campaign leaflet from the summer of 1996, which starts as follows, in bold red letters: "act now to save Hunstanton!"

The words continue in red, but getting smaller, until at the foot of the page it says: “Sponsored by the action committee against Hunstanton Tesco.”

With the benefit of hindsight, it is apparent that Tesco gets what it wants in the long run.

The best anyone can hope for is that the local planning authority will endeavour to make sure any new store, regardless of its name, will blend in with the design and materials used in the locality.

I seem to remember that this is what happened in Sheringham.

In Hunstanton it was left to the Honeystone public house, built opposite Tesco, to show what might have been.

The downside was that the Honeystone is situated on Hunstanton's crown jewels - smack bang on the trackbed of the sadly missed railway.

This prompted me, in my days as a town councillor, to suggest that a better name for the pub might be: 'The end of the Line'...



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