Friday, 29 January 2016

East Devon beach huts >>> and the District Council's 'Transformation Strategy'

It's clear that local authorities need to raise more revenue:
Futures Forum: Of devolution, local assets and investing locally

One possibility is to raise user-fees on council-owned assets:
Futures Forum: East Devon beach huts >>> change to the current system >>> prices to double over two years "to be more in line with other authorities"

The problem is of course that current users will always feel they are being hard done by.

This is today's front page of the Herald:

Breaking news & sport in Sidmouth | Sidmouth Herald

With comment from the East Devon Watch blog:


29th January 2016

“To help us decide how much to increase our rents by, we compared our hire charges for beach huts sites in East Devon with those made by other local authorities (Torbay, Teignbridge, Torridge, Brighton & Hove, Adur & Worthing and Poole).”

Interesting that they use 3 local areas and then 3 of the richest areas in the south of England to make their decision!

One thought on “Beach hut price rises hit the headlines”

honeybadger says:
29 Jan 2016 at 2:52pm

It’s interesting that a price hike for beach huts makes the front pages of the local papers. Surely this is a small issue in the grand scheme of things? Well, yes, in some ways. People living away from the coastal towns will be wondering what all the fuss is about. But be aware – this is one of the first of many price rises and new charges to come. 

As EDDC (and other councils) implement all kinds of measures to raise income to fill the huge hole left in their finances by government grant cuts. If you don’t believe this, take a look at the EDDC ‘Transformation Strategy’ – it will transform our lives all right. http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1442491/transformation-strategy.pdf

Beach huts today, public toilets and parks tomorrow. More potholes? No library? Too expensive to go swimming? Welcome to Conservative Britain in the 21st century.

Beach hut price rises hit the headlines | East Devon Watch

And here's the front page story from the Express & Echo:

Rents will double for many East Devon beach hut owners, as decision confirmed early

By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: January 29, 2016

Exmouth beach huts

Comments (1)

A decision to double the rent to hire many beach huts in East Devon has been made earlier than anticipated.

The hikes were agreed on Thursday – four days earlier than East District Devon Council (EDDC) previously expected it to be confirmed.

A spokesperson for EDDC said: “EDDC currently rents out over 480 beach huts, beach hut sites and beach chalets spread over 11 different sites on five different beaches in East Devon

“ The beach huts, beach huts sites and chalets are incredibly popular, with demand far exceeding supply – as can be seen from our waiting lists, which have 700 people registered. All the lists have been closed for many years, except for Exmouth, which has an ‘open’ waiting list. These lengthy waiting lists demonstrate that access to these much valued resources is extremely limited, with people tending to hold on to their beach hut tenancy for many years.

“Under the previous rules and charging system many people who would have liked a beach hut, would not have the opportunity to rent one. We want to create a more open and fairer system, and at the same time, we want to encourage people who have beach huts, sites and chalets to value them more, to make more use of them or to let others have the opportunity to rent one.

“So in May 2015 we sent out a consultation questionnaire to ask the public to tell us what they thought about a range of initial ideas. One of the most contentious issues, which the majority of people were strongly opposed to, was a proposal to establish full market rents by putting beach huts on the open market.

“The alternative was to simply increase the charges, which was a common suggestion made people responding to the questionnaire that we sent out. Consequently, members agreed that the council should increase its charges to reflect the value that these beach huts/chalets/sites contribute to the vibrancy of their locations.

“To help us decide how much to increase our rents by, we compared our hire charges for beach huts sites in East Devon with those made by other local authorities (Torbay, Teignbridge, Torridge, Brighton & Hove, Adur & Worthing and Poole).

“This benchmarking exercise revealed that we are undercharging – in some cases quite significantly. On average, the other local authorities are charging £1,040 per year, while East Devon is only charging an average rent of £414 per year. In other words, the other local authorities are charging more than double what we charge.

“We are therefore intending to increase our charges to bring them more in line with charges made by other local authorities. However, each site in East Devon will be treated independently and any increase in hire charges will reflect the demand at each site, based on annual turnover.

“In addition to the increase in charges, all hirers will also now be charged separately for their National non-domestic rates (NNDR). Previously, these rates were included within hire charges (except chalet hirers in Exmouth).

“At Budleigh and Seaton (where we are currently providing a mixture of huts and sites without huts) we will now provide only sites and hirers will be responsible for supplying/maintaining their own huts.

“Although we have doubled the hire charges, a discount has been applied in all cases based on the turnover of the area sites. In addition, the increase in charges has been staggered over a two year period. Those area sites that have a higher turnover already (more new hirers per year) will have more of a discount applied.

“The decision has been consulted on within the council and was approved on Thursday by the portfolio holder.”

Among the beach hut owners angered by the decision is Michelle Oldfield from East Devon.

She said: “I realise there probably had to be an increase in charges but 100 per cent over two years? I’m disgusted and saddened.”

Fellow beach hut owner Peter Burrows added: “A sad day for Democracy, EDDC and beach hut owners.”


nick113 | January 29 2016, 1:46PM

Mr Burrows may not like the price of beach huts going up, but there's nothing 'undemocratic' about EDDC changing the price. There was a multi year waiting list for beach hut previously, suggesting that demand greatly exceeded supply, and existing renters had an inside track. Hopefully the new deal will match supply with demand, and some new faces will get a look in.

Rents will double for many East Devon beach hut owners, as decision confirmed early | Exeter Express and Echo

And from the District Council's website:
Beach huts - East Devon

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