A councillor has played down water quality problems at Norfolk's most noxious beach by reminiscing of his youth spent swimming near sewage pipes.

Brian Long was speaking at a West Norfolk Council meeting to discuss ongoing issues at Heacham, where the water has been classified as 'poor' since 2021, with bathers urged to avoid the area.

The Conservative councillor argued that the issue should be seen in a wider perspective.

"When I spent my summers down at Northrepps and Cromer beach as a child, you could visibly see [sewage] pipes that came out of the cliff side, staining all the way down and going straight into the sea," he said.

"Nobody was monitoring anything.

"We'd come out of the sea and have a cold shower to clean off before eating our sandwiches. I don't think anyone was harmed by it." 

He added: "These days we know the situation is there but horses for courses."

Eastern Daily Press: Councillor Brian LongCouncillor Brian Long (Image: Archant)

But other members were not so keen on taking a dip in potentially foul water.

READ MORE: What is causing pollution at Norfolk's most noxious beach?

Green councillor Pallavi Devulapalli said: "I don’t share Cllr Long’s robustness when it comes to getting into water.

"I think it is just dishearting, it is bad for morale, to look at a beach and think the water is probably full of sewage, or I think most people would feel that way."

READ MORE: Bird expert questions seabird blame for Heacham Beach's pollution problems 

Eastern Daily Press: Water quality issues at Heacham is an ongoing concern for councillorsWater quality issues at Heacham is an ongoing concern for councillors (Image: Chris Bishop)

The issue of water quality at Heacham Beach is a growing concern for councillors and locals.

Stuart Dark, chairman of the panel, described the advice against bathing as having a "potentially significant impact" on Heacham's reputation as a resort area.

Anglian Water has a treatment plant on the nearby Heacham river but believes it is operating well and that the pollution is caused by other factors, including seabirds.

While the situation remains murky, the panel were unanimous in agreeing that positive steps are being taken into investigating water quality issues.

Members hope that extra Environment Agency funding to conduct more tests will help give a clearer picture.