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Thorpeness conservation area to be extended to include beach and seafront closest to Meare

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The conservation area for a Suffolk beauty spot has been extended for the first time in 45 years.

East Suffolk Council’s cabinet on Tuesday night agreed to extend the Thorpeness conservation area to incorporate the beach and seafront closest to the Meare, to help protect areas of architectural and historic interest.

It represents the first change to the conservation area boundary since it was made in 1976, and comes as chiefs also approved a conservation appraisal and management plan for Thorpeness.

Thorpeness. Picture: Google Maps
Thorpeness. Picture: Google Maps

The designation allows the authority to understand and protect important features of the village by controlling demolition plans, tighter control over designs and material use, and detailing areas to be maintained.

The council’s report said: “Officers judge the proposed extension is appropriate as this area has been assessed to have architectural and/or historic interest, which it is desirable to preserve and enhance through forming part of the Thorpeness conservation area.”

An extension suggested to the north was not considered appropriate by the coastal management team, because it is an area subject to erosion.

A public consultation which ran for six weeks from the end of January generated 22 responses.

The village, known originally as Thorpe, had begun attracting seasonal visitors shortly before it was inherited by Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie as part of the Sizewell estate in 1908.

He set about a vision for it as a new holiday resort, which the conservation plan says “avoided the ordinary, monotonous, and the coastal cliches of piers and promenades in favour of a more naturalistic setting for his development”.

The conservation area extension was proposed by the heritage consultant who worked on the plan’s review, citing the need to incorporate some of the earlier properties along the coast which gave inspiration to the resort.

David Ritchie, Conservative cabinet member for planning, said: “Over the years, many different styles came in and eventually we ended up with the wonderfully unusual place just two miles north of Aldeburgh that Thorpeness is – it’s really special.”