Lost their Marples! Locals slam homes on Agatha Christie beach

Lost their Marples! Devon residents slam plans for block of ‘monstrous’ holiday homes on Agatha Christie’s favourite beach

  • Developers have been given the green light to build the modern block of huts at Beacon Cove down in Devon 
  • Hemel Hempstead Property Company has been given the go-ahead for them on the land half way up the cliff
  • It said they would be used as holiday homes and single users would only be able to stay for 12 weeks per year
  • Aged 13, Christie almost drowned at the Torquay spot while trying to help a nephew and was rescued by sailor

Devon residents have been left outraged after planning permission was granted for five holiday homes on Agatha Christie’s favourite beach.

Developers have been given the green light to build a modern block of huts at Beacon Cove – dubbed ‘Agatha Christie Mile’.

Hertfordshire-based Hemel Hempstead Property Company has been given the go-ahead for them on land half way up the cliff.

The firm said they would be used as holiday homes and any single user would only be able to stay for a maximum of 12 weeks a year – but they would be available all year round.

Aged 13, Christie almost drowned at the Torquay beauty spot while trying to help a nephew and had to be rescued by a passing sailor.

The pebble beach was a favourite of the best-selling author – who wrote Miss Marple and Poirot – and in Christie’s day it was the Ladies Bathing Cove.

It remained popular until an ugly walled walkway was built in the 1980s when the area slipped into misuse and became an out-of-hours party area.

In the last few years campaigners have reclaimed the beach, with locals Graham Stephenson and Jim Cairns raising money to gate it off at night.

Locals at Beacon Cove in Brighton are angry at a proposed development at Agatha Christie’s favourite Devon beach 

Campaigners are opposed to the proposed luxury development are concerned about the level of anti-social behaviour in the area 


Hertfordshire-based Hemel Hempstead Property Company have been given the go-ahead for them on land half way up the cliff

Developers have been given the green light to build a modern block of huts at Beacon Cove – dubbed ‘Agatha Christie Mile’ – in Devon

The firm said it would be used as holiday homes and any single user would only be able to stay for a maximum of 12 weeks a year. They would be available year-round. A sketch shows how the cove would like after the plans are undertaken

Locals were livid with the new plans, with some taking to the comments section of the application to vent their fury. All 15 who commented objected to the move (pictured, the plans)

Aged 13, Christie (pictured in later life) almost drowned at the Torquay beauty spot while trying to help a nephew and had to be rescued by a passing sailor

Residents were livid with the new plans, with some taking to the comments section of the application to vent their fury. All 15 who commented objected to the move.

One wrote: ‘I am concerned that this development will result in an increase in people using Imperial Court environs, particularly the car park which is already short of space, especially for visitors.

‘There may be accidents as there is little space for turning vehicles added to the people on foot walking from the Imperial Hotel to the town.’

They added: ‘The access to the beach huts needs to be more carefully thought through. I am also concerned about increased noise from the people using the beach huts and the access.’

Another put: ‘The proposal may result in increased footfall into Imperial Court, there is already congestion in the car park which lacks visitor spaces, and there is the propensity for accidents. Health and safety is a very real risk.

‘Furthermore there is a risk of illegal parking by the barrier to Imperial Court which would impede emergency services such as fire and ambulance.’

Beacon Cove is pictured from above, showing the beach made famous by Christie as well as the site where the chalets would go

This plan show show the chalet would be set out, with a bathroom on the ground floor and a mezzanine sleeping platform above

A map shows a site plan for the five holiday homes as well as paths down to the beach and where the nearby car park is located

A wider map shows the area surrounding Beacon Cove in Deven, with the proposed holiday homes highlighted in red above

The news also sparked a furious backlash online. One person said: ‘Firstly, are you telling me there are not enough places for people to stay in the area?’ Pictured: Plans for the chalets

The news also sparked a furious backlash online. One person said: ‘Firstly, are you telling me there are not enough places for people to stay in the area?

‘Or is this for a few wealthy folk to buy up a prime seaside location? Either way it stinks. If you see the chaos boats and jet skis have caused in Babbacombe Bay over the years, this cove will go the same.

‘Is it really worth it for five new builds? I think not. Leave the cove alone…’ Another person said: ‘I find it beyond belief that this application has been re-submitted.

‘The area is a major conservation hotspot. The Seagrass is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and the Seahorses are a protected species.

‘Isn’t it time that humans put the environment ahead of temporary profit? We only have one planet folks, what are you leaving for your children to inherit?’

A third said: ‘I strongly object. [It] will impact on local environment and sea with rubbish and strongly object to overnight accommodation, as soon there will be the Hilton and Premier Inn locally opening, it’s a very small cove.

‘If the old Living Coast land developed, the cove will naturally be used more. Does the Council guarantee 24 hour open access or will it become a privileged few?’

A fourth added: ‘Nothing more than greed and back handlers. Locals should be listened to and areas of beauty protected and not ruined with more concrete monstrosities!’

‘I’d like to know how much they will be banging them out for!’ a fifth said. Someone’s getting a backhander!’

A fifth said: ‘Why oh why are you contemplating yet another disruption to a little cove and the disastrous building processes it will involve?

‘Do not allow this building and destruction of this peaceful area. There is enough building being squeezed in all over the place – for a few to make loads of money. Protect the cove from exploitation for goodness sake.’

Mr Stephenson, the man behind the campaign to reclaim the beach, has written an angry letter to the leaders of Torbay Council in disagreement to the proposal (pictured)

Plans submitted to the council show how the beach huts would stand above the cove, with outdoor seating and sleeping platforms overlooking the sea

Describing Agatha Christie’s childhood memories of Beacon Cove, an official website dedicated to her memory reads: ‘Agatha enjoyed sea bathing, and regularly swam at Beacon Cove, Meadfoot Beach and Elberry Cove

Founder of the Seahorse Trust Neil Garrick-Maidment said: ‘As a native of Torbay from a long standing Torbay family I find it frustrating the site is restricted and the thought of further restrictions would be unacceptable.

‘I note the builders of the proposed development are not from the area and so they cannot be aware of the sensitivities of this site and its history.’

He added: ‘With this lack of knowledge they would not be aware of its conservation, geological and indeed social history.’

Mr Stephenson, the man behind the campaign to reclaim the beach, has written an angry letter to the leaders of Torbay Council in disagreement to the proposal.

He expressed his anger at how their ‘hard work’ with the council in bringing the cove ‘back to life’ was in danger of being wasted.

Describing Agatha Christie’s childhood memories of Beacon Cove, an official website dedicated to her memory reads: ‘Agatha enjoyed sea bathing, and regularly swam at Beacon Cove, Meadfoot Beach and Elberry Cove.

‘She recalls in her autobiography an afternoon at Beacon Cove when she was swimming out to the raft with her nephew Jack on her shoulders.

‘She found herself struggling in the swell and they both had to be rescued by the ‘crotchety’ old man who managed the changing huts.’

Legendary British crime writer who mysteriously vanished herself in 1926 before reappearing days later in a hotel in Harrogate: Who was Agatha Christie?

Agatha Christie is one of Britain’s most celebrated authors, having lifted the murder mystery genre to new heights with her much-loved novels featuring fictitious detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

She was born in Torquay, Devon, in September 1890 and wrote her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, while working as a nurse during World War I. It was published after the Great War ended, in 1920.

Christie went on to have an illustrious career as a wordsmith, writing a total of 66 detective novels, a series of short stories and the world’s longest running play, The Mousetrap.     

The most intriguing aspect of her life, however, is her own disappearance from her Berkshire home in 1926.  

Historians have been debating for nearly 100 years as to exactly why she vanished during the height of her fame, leaving her home in Sunningdale after kissing her seven-year-old daughter Rosalind goodbye.

She was found 11 days later after a search involving a thousand police officers, tracked down to a hotel in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and claimed she couldn’t remember a thing.

Agatha Christie (seen in 1949) is one of Britain’s most celebrated authors, having lifted the murder mystery genre to new heights with her much-loved novels featuring fictitious detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple

At the time of her disappearance Christie, who was 36, and famous for her Miss Marple and Poirot detective novels, was grieving for her mother.

Also her husband Colonel Archie Christie, a pilot in World War One had just announced he wanted a divorce because he was in love with a younger woman. 

A huge manhunt was launched and her car was found abandoned between Dorking and Guildford in Surrey.

Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes, joined in with the search that made national newspaper headlines.

Agatha Christie and her husband, British archaeologist Max Mallowan, leave their home in London in January 1933

Some claimed she had drowned in a nearby pool, but her body was nowhere to be found.

She was finally found when a musician at a hotel in Harrogate called the police when she checked in with no luggage and used the name Teresa Neele – the name of the woman her husband was in love with.

Christie went on to divorce Archie in 1928, and married Max Mallowan in 1930.

She was made a Dame in 1971 and died aged 85 in January 1976. She has sold more than two billion books and her stage play The Mousetrap has run for a record 66 years. 

She was a fan of cricket, and often spent her spare time under a large oak tree at Barton Cricket Club watching and scoring the games of her local club. 

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