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Thursday, 1 October 2015

District Council proposals on beach huts >>> research into how neighbouring Councils manage their beach huts

The Scrutiny Cttee recently met to put together recommendations for what to do with East Devon's beach huts - and there are several notions of how to go forward:
Futures Forum: District Council proposals on beach huts >>> separating 'rates' and 'rents'

This report is from the latest Exmouth Journal:

‘Equality’s important’ over use of beach huts

08:23 24 September 2015
Exmouth beach hut. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 5226-24-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on Photo Orders
Exmouth beach hut. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 5226-24-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on Photo Orders



Beach huts in each of East Devon’s coastal communities, including Exmouth, could all operate using different rules under a new regime being proposed.
The district council’s policy watchdog, the scrutiny committee, last week took a close look at proposals to shake up the way East Devon’s beach huts are run.
Earlier this year, East Devon District Council (EDDC) wanted to put the district’s beach huts at Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Seaton East, Seaton West and Beer up for auction.
In Exmouth, the Foxholes chalets alone will cost around £80,000 over 10 years to maintain, and, in the future, all the huts will need to pay for themslves.
But initial suggestions for a lease-auction led to concerns that only the well-off would be able to afford to rent a beach hut, with the rest snapped up by hotels for use by their customers.
EDDC bosses went back to the drawing board and drew up new proposals, which were scrutinised by the commitee.
Suggestions include a ‘right to buy’ scheme, tenants paying their own non-domestic rates, an increase in rent to a ‘market’ rate and the huts being run by town and parish councils.
The chairman of the committee, Councillor Roger Giles, said: “It is crucial that the public’s concerns are heard. Members were especially concerned that the different areas where the beach huts are situated should be addressed separately.
“They are all individual sites with different requirements and cannot be just lumped together.
“We are also keen to see that equality concerns are addressed. For elderly or disabled people on limited incomes, the cost of installing and dismantling beach huts each season could have a significant impact on them and we do not want to see anybody disadvantaged.”
Councillor Philip Skinner, EDDC’s economy portfolio holder, said: “It a delicate balance that we must strive to achieve between ensuring that we don’t price people out and creating best value from our assets – particularly in view of the cutbacks we are facing.”
‘Equality’s important’ over use of beach huts - News - Exmouth Journal

The basis for most of these recommendations came from a District Councillor's research comparing the systems currently used in neighbouring councils:

Beach Huts: Research

For: Scrutiny Committee, 17 September 2015
Seaton Beach Huts
The EDDC Scrutiny Committee considered the proposals for the future of East Devon’s chalets and beach huts. These proposals were devised in discussions between Officers and Councillors in the secret Asset Management Forum at EDDC. Many public meetings have been held in the coastal towns of East Devon because of the major concerns raised by them.
Councillor Roger Giles insisted that the proposals for change were included on a Scrutiny Committee early in his Chairmanship so that the public and Ward Councillors could have a good chance of persuading the full Council to take account of their considerable concerns.
EDA Councillor Marianne Rixson is a member of the Scrutiny Committee and did extensive research into how neighbouring Councils manage their beach huts. She used her research to argue strongly for changes to the proposals.
She summarised her research for the Committee by emphasising that the beach huts and chalets are an appreciating asset and should be the subject of investment to protect them, rather than selling them off whilst many were in a dilapidated state. She also said that variations from just offering annual leases should be considered and replacement huts could be made two-storey at Sidmouth to increase Council income rather than spreading the beach huts to other parts of the coastline.
The Scrutiny Committee made a number of recommendations to Council for changing the proposals, many of them as a direct result of her research.
You can read the Council’s own press release about the discussions and resolutions here[a]. Marianne’s research is shown in the table below.

Beach Huts: Research « East Devon Alliance

Meanwhile, we need to be very careful about where we put any new beach huts - as this story from further down the coast shows:
Preston beach huts moved by 'super tide' | Torquay Herald Express
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1 comment:

Jade Graham said...

As their High Streets are also joined, a small passageway between the shops leads off creating a gap between the two and on the seafront there is a statue of Peace where the towns meet. How nice! DIY Huts