Eastney Naturists

Campaigning to Save the Beach

Press Release – 16 May 2006

Naturists fight to save Eastney Beach

Naturists who have used Eastney Beach for decades are determined to fight plans which could see them driven away by property developers.

A group has been formed to launch a campaign for the continued use of the traditional naturist beach at Eastney, which regularly attracts hundreds of local and visiting naturists to Southsea, bringing valuable income into the area.

John Paine addresses the meeting

Michael Houlsby, who is one of the organisers, said: ”Naturists have been coming to the beach at Eastney since the 50’s. Not only do naturists spend money in the city, but our part of the beach is a peaceful oasis in the bustle of the city, which makes it popular with local people. Now that peace and tranquillity is being threatened, with outline planning consent for 3 large blocks of flats to tower over the beach being granted.

“It seems the beach may be lost to us for the sake of profit and yet more property development in an already overcrowded and over-developed city, pushing us out of one of the very few quiet corners left in Portsmouth.

“Naturism is becoming more and popular and it is increasingly portrayed in the media as a mainstream lifestyle and holiday choice. It is estimated that one million people in Britain get their kit off on beaches at home and abroad. In fact figures show that 82% of the UK felt that it was right to make nudity legal on some beaches here, even if they would never shed their clothes themselves.”

Barry Knell, also one of the organisers, added “We fear that the new owners of the apartments will object to the presence of nude people on the beach directly in front of them and seek to have the naturist use of the beach banned.”

Local naturists got together at the Southsea Leisure Park this weekend (Saturday 13 May) with the express aim of saving Eastney Beach. The BN Eastney Naturist Beach Liaison Group was formally launched at the meeting with the blessing of the national organisation, British Naturism, which has been working closely with local naturists and will continue to support the campaign.

Councillor Anthony Martin of Portsmouth City Council also attended the meeting and listened to the group’s many concerns. He expressed concern for the loss of “a quieter pace of life” in this part of an otherwise busy and bustling city.

Michael Houlsby says there are many reasons why naturists will fight to keep use of Eastney: ”The beach is good for naturists and good for the city. The naturist beach is always quieter, cleaner, friendlier – just compare it to the beach further along. There’s also the phenomenon of the ‘Buff Pound’ and the ‘Buff Euro’: the naturist beach brings in visitors to the city and overseas visitors expect to find a naturist beach – after all, they have them at home!

“From our point of view too it has several important advantages. For example, it’s at the end of the beach – there’s nowhere to walk to past the naturist section – so we don’t have a constant stream of people walking past, as can happen on other naturist beaches. It’s also one of the more accessible naturist beaches in the UK. Many of the other beaches include a long trek to find them – not suitable for the less able bodied.”

”One of our group was one of the first naturists to use the beach just a few years after World War II” he added. “The threats to the beach were a little different then – they had to wait for the mines to be cleared away first!”

Some of the Campaign members on the beach with John Paine

The group’s plan of action includes:

Work has already started on explanatory and promotional leaflets. And for those who want more information, who would like to contact or join the group, why not take a look at their website at www.eastneybeach.org.uk.uk.

© Eastney Naturist Beach Liaison Group- Eastney Naturists