Six months after the storm six Norfolk and Suffolk beaches win Blue Flag awards to mark their comeback
PUBLISHED: 00:01 20 May 2014 | UPDATED: 07:46 20 May 2014
Archant Norfolk 2014
Tourist beaches across the region are wearing sunny smiles after being given Blue Flag awards - six months after they were given a black eye by the worst storm surge for 30 years.
Blue Flag beaches
Cromer - The archetypal bucket and spade beach, close to the landmark holiday pier and crab boat fleet, which is also a popular spot for surfers enjoying and learning their sport.
Sheringham - A beach of shingle and sand set among the rocky sea defences, overlooked by colourful beach huts, with a trail of maritime heritage museums on the promenade.
Mundesley - Sandy shores have made the seaside village a popular bathing spot since Victorian times, with cafes, bars and putting on the clifftop above.
Sea Palling - Remoter than the main resorts, but a real favourite with families seeking a quieter location among the dunes, and with sands boosted by offshore reefs.
Southwold Pier - A sandy beach, overlooked by colourful beach huts and close to Southwold’s many cafés, shops, pubs and restaurants as well as the town’s thriving pier and boating lake.
Lowestoft South Claremont Pier - A swathe of fine sandy beach that is popular with families and close to the attractions of this typical seaside resort, including a Victorian putting green, amusements and the Claremont Pier.
Determined efforts all along the coast have repaired smashed proms to restore facilities needed to win the accolade.
And North Norfolk is leading the way with four of the six Blue Flags set to flutter along its once-shattered shoreline.
The district council’s cabinet member for the coast Angie Fitch-Tillet said: “It is something for the community to be proud of.
“The clear-ups have involved volunteer litter pickers as well as council staff and contractors in a team effort.”
After the worst storm surge for 30 years in December smashed seafronts, she just wanted to get the proms cleaned up and holes filled in to make them safe.
“Winning the awards is a big boost to promoting our tourism,” added Mrs Fitch-Tillett.
The awards are handed out by the Keep Britain Tidy group, whose coastal awards co-ordinator Lynsey Atherton said: “It is incredible that sites have been cleared up ready to welcome the visitors.”
Extra checks were done after the December damage to ensure resorts initially judged checked last summer had bounced back.
Not everywhere had been able to manage it with some beaches in Yorkshire and the South Coast unable to restore access - so the Blue Flags, which were already a major achievement, were especially well-won this year.
Fifty-six blue flags - a hallmark of highest water quality and facilities - have been approved and 112 slightly lower seaside awards which still recognise good water and management.
North Norfolk’s clocking up four blue flags, and one seaside award - at East Runton - makes it equal second in the country when it comes to concentrations of award-winning beaches.
Thanet in Kent, with seven, had the most Blue Flags.
North Norfolk’s four was on a par with Poole, Torbay, Bournemouth, Tendring along with the Isle of Wight - which topped the overall table with four Blue Flags and 13 seaside awards.
Keep Britain Tidy programmes director Richard McIlwain said holidaymakers and daytrippers sought clean, safe beaches, with good water quality and facilities when deciding places to visit.
“The sight of the Blue Flag or Seaside Award flying gives visitors the reassurance that they’ll have a great time,” he added.