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Beauty spot progress
12:00pm Thursday 19th December 2013 in News
A MOVE to boost tourism in Manningtree and Mistley by having a riverbank granted an area of outstanding natural beauty status has moved a step closer.
The northern banks of the River Stour, in Suffolk, already have the prestigious designation and campaigners have been pressing for it to be extended to the Essex side.
In May, there were fears it could be three years before the extension was approved by the Government organisation Natural England.
Now Natural England has announced a review into extending the protected status boundary to cover the south side of the Stour estuary.
The decision follows an initial assessment which concluded there was evidence to support the position the area has sufficient natural beauty to qualify.
Tendring Council believes gaining the status would boost tourism and attract EU money.
Councillor responsible for planning Carlo Guglielmi said: “This goes back to 1993 when we found the other side of the river had been given protection.
“That is when officers became involved and a huge amount of work has gone into it.
“Natural England, at its last board meeting, said the area is now top of their designation list.
“We are now waiting for them over what type of consultation they would like to be carried out.
“This is great news for our area.
“It is probably a couple of years down the line, but we are almost there.”
Mistley parish councillor Ian Rose said: “It is a step forward. It is rather silly one side is protected and one side is not.”
Mr Rose said it would now be important to get the backing of the farmers who own the land.
If Natural England does decide to vary the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty boundary, a variation order should be submitted to the Secretary of State in 2015 for a final decision.
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