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My name is Henry Spyvee. I am a Licensee of a Council beach hut at West Mersea and am Chairman of the West Mersea beach Hut Watch. My representations are purely personal but I will pass them to my colleagues on our Committee. We next meet after the consultation on the Local Plan closes.
I was a Colchester Borough Councillor from 1992 to 2012 and am now an Honorary Alderman.
There are 384 beach huts on Borough Council land at West Mersea and over 70 on private land referred to as the 'Spinney'. About 90% of the eligible 450+ beach hut owners are members of the Watch. This has been the case for some years.
I am concerned that the seafront area of West Mersea is not referred to in the Preferred Options document and so does not have the necessary protection. For instance para. 5.19 (p.82) and Policy ENV3 refer only to 'rivers and estuarine corridors' but not to the seafront. Contrast that with the Tendring Plan which is being consulted on at the same time. In this the seafront is recognised as part of the green space in para. 4.34 (p.87) and Policy HP4.
In the section of the document which refers to Mersea Island on pp151/154 the assets of Mersea which bring in tourism (para.6.220) are said to include the Coast Road harbour area and the 6 Caravan Parks, both of which have policies to protect them (SS17b and c) and the Cudmore Grove Country Park (referred to in para. 6.218). These are important but so is the seafront. Unlike the other areas, this has a car park area in three car parks which between them have a capacity of over 450. The beach huts are comparatively lightly used, probably 1 in 10 at peak time so they account for about 50 cars at the most. Maximum usage is probably about 300 cars. This indicates that at peak times beach hut users are greatly exceeded by visitors who have come to relax, bathe and windsurf in pleasant conditions. This is one seaside area in North East Essex which does not have a promenade so the feel is quite different from its neighbours.
There should be a Policy (as SS17b and c) which -
a) Protects the area from development of other uses
b) Allows the erection of new beach huts subject to protection from over development. I am aware of one new beach hut in recent years.
c) Ensures that beach huts are kept in reasonable building and decorative order to protect the visual amenity of the area. In the case ofhuts on Council land, this power exists and is exercised by Parks and Leisure. There is no equivalent in the private area which suffers as a result.
The area map (SS17) is difficult to read but this appears to be the one section of the beach not shown as Public Open Space. This should be corrected.
It is current Council Policy that the Borough resist the erection of a new nuclear power station or stations at Bradwell. The opposition centres on -
a) The inability of mersea people to evacuate the area easily in case of a nuclear emergency.
b) The discharge of large amounts of warm cooling water and low level radioactive waste into the Blackwater Estuary and its effect on ecology and fishing, including oysters.
This stance could usefully referred to in the Plan with the wording that mentions the need for protection of the Estuary (para. 5.12/14 and ENV2.