Naturists' delight as Holkham beach ban is lifted

PUBLISHED: 06:15 03 October 2013 | UPDATED: 16:50 03 October 2013

Naturists can enjoy Holkham Beach again. Photo: Angela Sharpe

Naturists can enjoy Holkham Beach again. Photo: Angela Sharpe

Archant © 2006

Naturists wishing to strip off on a north Norfolk beach will once again be able to do so without fear of prosecution after a ban was lifted.

The western section of Holkham beach has been a designated destination for naturists for many years but the Crown Estate, which owns the beach, decided to ban naturism from July 1 this year following a series of complaints to police about anti-social behaviour and concern over incidents of public indecency.

Wardens were instructed that if they came across any naturists they should politely ask them to put their clothes on and if they refused they would be told they could be arrested and face prosecution.

British Naturism, which has around 10,000 members, expressed its frustration at the decision saying any indecent behaviour was down to “a small minority of troublemakers”.

The group took legal advice and after contacting the Crown Estate to say it would be taking steps to prepare documents for a judicial review of the situation they were informed that the ban would be lifted with immediate effect.

Campaigns director Malcolm Boura said they were “delighted” with the outcome. He said: “We very much welcome the lifting of the ban and we are meeting with the other interested parties later this month. We are confident that by following best practice any remaining problems can be resolved.

“We hope that it is all behind us now. A lot of naturists were extremely angry and upset when the ban was put in place but there is no reason why it should happen again.

“That part of the beach has been used by naturists for as long as anyone can remember and we are working very hard to ensure it stays that way.”

The ban on nudism in the dunes, which are owned and managed by Holkham Estate, and on all land above mean high water, remains in place. The beach and dunes form part of the Holkham National Nature Reserve which is also managed by the Holkham Estate.

David Horton-Fawkes, estates director at the Holkham Estate, said: “We are aware that the Crown Estate has reversed its decision about nudism on the beach following the threat of judicial review by a small group of naturists.

“Until now the ban on nudism had stopped the illegal activity that has plagued the beach. We can only hope that this decision does not re-open the door to those who have ruined this part of the Nature Reserve for the vast majority of beach users.

“The ban on nudism on Estate land remains in place because we believe it is important to safeguard our staff and visitors.

“Our team will continue to work closely with the Crown Estate, the police and Natural England to uphold the interests of the majority of people who visit the beach.”

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