THREE coastal communities could be designated as historic towns as part of a council’s blueprint for the future.
Tendring Council’s local plan will be subject to a six-week consultation, which begins on Monday.
Under the revised plans Harwich, Manningtree and St Osyth would be given the designation, which provides the towns with more recognition and could help boost tourism.
It also highlights more sensitive locations in the district where there could be a presence of archaeological remains and provides protection for medieval buildings.
The council has proposed the historic towns designation is reinstated for the three towns.
The designation was on the local plan which was adopted in 2007, however, it was not originally included on the 2012 draft local plan.
Carlo Guglielmi, Tendring councillor responsible for planning, said: “It is to recognise the importance of the historical nature of these areas. It is really an extra label to recognise what they have got.
“St Osyth and Manningtree really are historic. They are the two oldest dwelling places in Tendring.
“It will be like Colchester being the oldest recorded town in England – it gives it extra recognition.
“Harwich has lots of maritime history.”
Mr Guglielmi said the new label would not pose problems for people wanting to develop in the three areas.
“It is one of the focused changes to the plan and that is why it is being consulted on,” he said.
“It will be interesting to see what the public feels.”
Colin Farnell, chairman of the Harwich Society, said: “With so many old and historic buildings in Harwich, it is very good news everything is being done to aid their protection.”
Manningtree mayor Kerry King said: “It is pleasing news.
“Manningtree is a little dot on the map, but more and more people – especially after the programme Off the Beaten Track – have visited.”
The changes have been approved by full council and will be out for public consultation between January 6 and February 17.