Fight on to save WWII coastal gun platform after preservation bid rejected
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
The fight is on to preserve the remains of a Second World War gun emplacement after Historic England rejected a bid to list the structure.
Residents in Munhdesley applied to have the concrete building protected in late October after North Norfolk District Council removed one of its most notable features - two rings of bolts - called holdfasts - which used to hold the gun mounts in place.
Bev Reynolds, part of the group Mundesley Action 4 Cardiac Hill and Coastal Gun Battery, said they would appeal to Historic England to reconsider.
She said: “We are going to fight this and appeal the decision. This is really important to our village and the amount of support that we are getting is huge.
“Nobody wants to see these things go. Somewhere along the line we’ve got to find a way forward and preserve the future of the gun battery.”
Mrs Reynolds said that as well being a monument to those who defended our coastline during the war, the gun emplacement was a local landmark which drew a lot of interest from visitors.
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Mrs Reynolds said Historic England gave four reasons for not listing the structure: The loss of the gun houses, which were taken off as soon as the guns were removed after the war; the removal of observation posts, which were taken down in the 1950s; the conversion of one of the engine rooms to a garden shed and the loss of the holdfasts.
Their report said: “Although the battery has a degree of historic significance having borne witness to the greatest conflict of world history, this interest is outweighed by the loss of historic fabric which has diminished its character and readability as a gun battery.”
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Mrs Reynolds and fellow Mundesley resident Denise Revell have also written to the council, asking them to help preserve the gun emplacement.
NNDC have confirmed they received the letter, which would be shared with councillors.
The council said last month it had removed the holdfasts over “safety concerns”.
The Mundesley coastal battery was built in 1940/41 and armed with two ex-naval six-inch guns and manned by the 197 Battery Royal Artillery.
The guns had been removed by 1946, having never fired a shot in anger.
Ed Maxfield, county councillor for Mundesley Division, said: “It’s really frustrating that the damage NNDC has already done is being cited by Historic England as one of the reasons why they won’t list the building.
“But the district council needs to heed the warning not to do any more damage to the site until it has been properly surveyed.
“The best outcome would be for the community to be given the chance to maintain and improve this historic site, not for the council to destroy it.”