Posted: Aug 31, 2009
Shocked locals in one of Britain's poshest seaside town have vowed to fight plans for a nudist beach.
Residents and traders believe that if a search for a new spot for naked bathers on the Suffolk coast selects fashionable Southwold it could spell the end of the resort's appeal to families.
In recent years Southwold, nicknamed Chelsea-on-Sea, has become one of the most expensive seaside towns in East Anglia where beach huts can change hands for up to £100,000.
Gordon Brown even holidayed there last year with his family.
However, last week it emerged that naturists have been showing interest in the stretch of heritage coastline in their search for a new nudist beach.
The official nudist beach at Corton, 16 miles north of Southwold, is set to close in November due to coastal erosion.
Waveney district council is de-designating the nudist beach as the erosion means there is now 80 per cent less beach for regular holidaymakers.
So a consultation is taking place to relocate the naturist area to another beach along the coast and Southwold is among the options.
However, lifeguard Joe Annis predicts residents would 'go ballistic' if the well-to-do seaside town became a nudist haven.
The town's mayor, Sue Doy, said: 'I have got nothing against it in principle, but I wouldn't want to use it and I don't think we have room because the beach is normally crowded with holidaymakers.'
Ken Sale, the council's portfolio holder for the Environment, reassured worried residents saying: 'At this stage we are 'fact finding' and should any potential site meet the criteria laid down for such a facility we will seek to explore the options further.'
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