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SUN Campaign History - Mar 1998

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Chairman's letter suspending involvement with National Trust

4th March 1998

Letter to The National Trust:

On the several occasions that we have met with you and others over the imposition of an artificial border around the traditional nudist area of Studland, our hopes of reaching an amicable and workable solution have been repeatedly raised and then dashed.

As a consequence of attending these negotiations the SUN group feel, quite strongly, that those who oppose SUN have wilfully misrepresented the SUN case, and maligned its committee and members. Those who have an interest in the affairs of Studland Beach have only ever received a jaundiced view of the situation on Studland, and the SUN group itself, from the Trust's press officers and from officers of the CCBN.

While we accept we are not the voice of every beach user on Studland, we are confident that we are more in-touch with beach affairs and nudist users than any other organisation - including the National Trust and the CCBN. Our rapidly expanding membership shows increasing determination and widening support for our campaign for the removal of the red-topped boundary and the relocation of Heather Walk.

Nudist use of Studland beach is both historical arid substantial. Nudist residents and all year round visitors make a big financial contribution to the economy of Dorset as a whole, the Purbeck region, and Studland village in particular.

We have tried to impress upon you that if things are left pretty much as they have been for decades there is no reason why this happy arrangement and peaceful coexistence should not continue for many years to come. Despite our considerable research on alternative routes for Heather Walk, and our attendance at these meetings, we find ourselves no further down the road than two years ago. We have found ourselves embroiled in side issue debates on the physical management of the Studland landscape, which are interesting, but of no relevance to our claim for the re-siting of Heather Walk.

We have also involved ourselves in fruitless argument, often opposing the bigotry and intolerance of misguided or blatantly prejudiced critics, on the moral laxity of some beach users - particularly those men and women who use the beach for public sexual intercourse. We have stated repeatedly that we condemn public sex and have pointed out that most of the offensive activity is carried out by men and women who are not nudist users of the dunes or the beach.

We accept that Studland beach and dunes are evolving under natural forces and these actions promote some change in arrangements for human use. But the current boundary and the divisive Heather Walk are management impositions that have no correlation with natural evolution in the dunes. We note and largely disapprove of the development and financial 'optimising' of this National Trust asset.

However, our main concern is to secure for our members the removal of the imposed boundary and the re-routing of Heather Walk. Until a genuine attempt to show us that this demand is taken seriously, and is to be acted upon in a decisive way by the Trust, the SUN group feel unable to continue offering our attendance and support for these liaison meetings.

If your answer is in the negative and you have no intention whatsoever of moving the red posts and re-siting Heather Walk we would wish for you to say so now. If on the other hand you have a definite plan to hand which we can discuss today then let's discuss it.

If we remain in limbo, as we were at our December meeting, then we have no alternative but to suspend our involvement. We will then go back to our membership, who are determined to see the removal of the boundary, and who fully support us in our approach to these negotiations, and advise them of the outcome

Mark Nisbet
for and on behalf of SUN Group


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