RESIDENTS have raised concerns they could be banned from accessing parts of Walton’s beloved Naze.

Tendring Council is working with councils across Essex on a strategy to preserve wildlife habitats in the face of threats from house building over the next 20 years.

It has been revealed that a workshop with stakeholders, including Natural England, had mooted a series of measures, including making access to the Naze seasonal, rather than for 365 days a year.

The council has denied there are any proposals to limit public access to the Naze.

It said: “A suggestion was made by an attendee of initial stakeholder workshop, suggesting the Naze should have seasonal access rather than 365 day access.

“However, this suggestion was not made by anyone from Tendring Council and is not repeated in the outputs of the follow up workshops.

“During the Tendring Council Planning Policy and Local Plan Committee on July 16, a report was approved to publish the draft Essex Coast Recreational disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS), a draft policy designed to mitigate the effects of increased recreational disturbance as result of population growth throughout Essex and is being developed in conjunction with 11 other Essex local authorities.

“Mitigation ideas have been put forward to inform what might be put in place in particular locations.

“In relation to the John Weston Essex Wildlife Trust reserve at the Naze these may include, upgrading public information boards and signage, along with the recruitment of a ranger.”

Former town councillor David Evans, from Cortoncroft Close, had raised concerns over the idea of restricting access to the Naze.

He said:”As far as I’m concerned all these ideas are included in an appendix to the plan and I’m still very concerned about it.

“The Naze was acquired by Essex County Council in the 1960s as a public open space and subsequently sold to Frinton and Walton Urban District Council, its successor being Tendring Council, on the legal condition that it would remain a public open space in perpetuity.

“This is public land and they have no right to tell us where we can and cant go.

“The environmentalists want to keep people out of the backwaters and then Naze, but it’s public land and we have a right to go there.

“I’m glad the council has denied there will be any restriction over access because we can now hold them to it.”