December 6 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Naturists are to be banned from a nationally-renowned Norfolk beach following complaints about anti-social behaviour committed in the area.
The Holkham Estate has decided to close the naturist area on the western section of Holkham beach, near Wells, from July 1 following discussions with police.
There has been growing concern over incidents of public indecency.
The western section of Holkham beach has been a designated destination for naturists for a number of years.
A spokesman for British Naturism, which has around 10,000 members, has expressed disappointment at the decision and frustration that “a small minority of troublemakers ruins it for everyone.”
Sarah Henderson, conservation manager at the Holkham Estate, said: “It is sad we have been forced to take this step due to the persistent anti-social behaviour of a minority of people.
“The management and control of these activities has been an increasing concern to me and my team who look after the reserve so we have had to take action to ban all nudism.
“We have consulted with the police and discussed the issues and options. The decision has been made to implement a total ban for the better management and future safety of all our visitors.”
There will be prominent signs to highlight this change and Holkham Estate wardens will be patrolling the beach to ensure visitors comply with the new policy.
The wardens will be instructed that if they come across any naturists they will politely ask them to put their clothes on and if they refuse they will need to be aware they could be arrested and face prosecution.
The Holkham National Nature Reserve, which includes the beach, is managed by the Holkham Estate.
The dunes are owned and managed by the estate and the beach is owned by the Crown Estate and managed by Natural England and both organisations were consulted before this decision was finalised.
Andrew Welch, a spokesman for British Naturism, said: “Many of our members enjoy coming to this beautiful part of the country to sunbathe on the beach and socialise with like-minded people without causing any problems.
“Unfortunately some people see being nude as an excuse to misbehave and it is a great shame that a small minority of trouble-makers ruin it for all of us. These people should be dealt with by the police.
“If 20 people out of 20,000 in a football stadium cause trouble they don’t close the whole stadium so it is a shame that the Holkham Estate has come to make this decision and we would like to open some dialogue with them about this.”
Holkham National Nature Reserve attracts over 500,000 visitors each year and has been described by Natural England as one of the most important and heavily visited sites in the UK.