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Wayne Hemingway to redesign Hunstanton seafront

PUBLISHED: 16:03 11 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:20 12 June 2018

Wayne Hemingway at Hunstanton Picture: West Norfolk council

Wayne Hemingway at Hunstanton Picture: West Norfolk council

Archant

Congestion on the A149 needs to be dealt with before a revamp of Hunstanton’s southern seafront to boost tourism in the town.

Beach goers enjoying the sunshine in Hunstanton. Picture: Ian BurtBeach goers enjoying the sunshine in Hunstanton. Picture: Ian Burt

That was the reaction to the announcement design guru Wayne Hemingway has been appointed to draw up a new “masterplan” for the area.

His business HemingwayDesign has been involved in regeneration projects at resorts including Lowestoft, Bognor Regis, Margate and Morecombe. The £100,000 project will update a blueprint drawn up in 2008 and re-examine some of its proposals. They included building a viewing platform at the pier building, new restaurants and cafes along the southern prom, a “landmark building” on the former Kit Kat site and a marine lake next to the Sea Life Sanctuary.

But Andrew Murray, chair of Hunstanton Civic Society, said: “I think the thing with Hunstanton is probably its access, I’m surprised so many people come here and put up with the congestion on the A149. I want to see the railway back but that’s not going to happen any time soon and it’s going to cost a lot of money.”

Long-serving borough councillor Richard Bird said: “My concern is always the same for Hunstanton. We put the attraction in before we put in the infrastructure to get to it.

A beautiful day on the beach in Hunstanton. Picture: Ian BurtA beautiful day on the beach in Hunstanton. Picture: Ian Burt

“Whether we’re talking about a pier or this lagoon, everyone’s got to come in on the A149. We need to be talking about alternative routes, alternative car parks, but all we talk about is trying to get more footfall.”

William Searle’s family has been running boat trips from the prom since 1929, when much of the area was open fields. Mr Searle, now 67, said the beach needed recharging to replace sand washed away by the tides.

“It’s front of house,” he said. “I’ve been saying for a long time we haven’t got a beach.”

Peter Hodson, West Norfolk council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “We are delighted to have secured the services of HemingwayDesign. They bring a community-focused approach to their work and a philosophy of improving things that matter. Many of their coastal schemes have won awards, so we are confident that they have the right expertise, experience, ethos and passion to develop a masterplan that works and that will reflect what matters to local people and potential visitors.”

Traffic backed up on the A149 coast road at Hunstanton. Picture:Chris BishopTraffic backed up on the A149 coast road at Hunstanton. Picture:Chris Bishop

Who is Wayne Hemingway?

Wayne Hemingway started out as a market trader selling clothing, before founding the Red or Dead fashion label with his wife Geraldine in 1982.

Firefighter John Ward inspects   the remains of Hunstanton Pier  from  the hydraulic platform  following the fire Picture: John HocknellFirefighter John Ward inspects the remains of Hunstanton Pier from the hydraulic platform following the fire Picture: John Hocknell

They are famed for selling Dr Marten’s shoes as fashion items, along with Russian peasant workers’ clothing.

In 1999, the couple sold Red or Dead to specialise in designing social housing.

In 2011, HemingwayDesign were appointed by Freebridge Community Housing to oversee the £30m redesign of Hillington Square - a rundown estate near the centre of King’s Lynn.

Residents were consulted before work began on transforming the 1970s square. Work on 202 of its 300 homes has now been completed.

Last month, Mr Hemingway unveiled a vision for Lowestoft’s South Beach. The Lowestoft South Beach plans include a renovation of the East Point Pavilion, a new pagoda with a restaurant or café, and seafront beach huts big enough for people to stay in overnight.

Pier pressure

One proposal contained in the 2008 masterplan was a viewing platform attached to the Pier Entertainment building at the bottom of The Green.

The arcade and bowling stands on the site of an earlier pier head building, which was destroyed by fire in the early hours of May 18, 2002.

MORE - flashback to Hunstanton’s biggest-ever fire

Fire crews from across Norfolk rushed to the scene. Smoke could be seen across The Wash in Lincolnshire. The fire was so intense that change from slot machines melted in the heat. The cause was never established.

The former Jungle Wonderland and CHS Amusements building was all that remained of Hunstanton Pier, which was washed away by a storm in 1978.

After the fire, there were calls to rebuild it. Campaigners claimed a covenant obliged the lease holder to replace it.

But West Norfolk council said there was no legal obligation to provide a pier on the site and the stand-off has rumbled on ever since.

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