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Sunday, 25 January 2015

East Devon beach huts: a summary so far...

There have been several stories and more angles around the issue of East Devon's beach huts:

Beach huts as 'assets':
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: "We’re digging into the opportunities to release assets and invest in assets to increase revenue streams."

Local people being able to decide on what they want their seafront to look like:
Futures Forum: LOCALISM restated >>> "Power should be decentralised down to the lowest appropriate level - to councils, to community groups and to individual taxpayers"

Beach huts 'not fit for purpose' - and other suggestions for their use:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: a suggestion for the new District Council headquarters in Honiton...
Futures Forum: "Not fit for purpose" ... What shall we do with the unwanted Exmouth beach huts? ... Bulldozing one set of assets whilst subsidising another

Inconsistent local authority policies:
Futures Forum: Proposals for new Sidmouth beach huts are an "improvement programme" or "a money-grabbing move that will ruin the view"

Having to make way for 'sustainable development':
Futures Forum: Transition Town Exmouth: welcoming 'sustainable development' on Exmouth's seafront

The District Council is reviewing the whole matter of beach huts - and, actually, each town has a very different background - which Councillors feel should be respected.

SEATON/BEER: Future of beach huts under review

20th January 2015 by Kevin Fahey & Anders Larsson

SEATON: Future of beach huts under review

A REVIEW into the ownership and management of East Devon District Council beach huts in Seaton and Beer is under way. Among other proposals being considered are site fees in Beer being brought into line with other open market rents. In Seaton, the town council is interested in buying the sites it currently rents from EDDC.

EDDC's Cabinet has recommended that an extensive refurbishment and replacement programme be put in place to improve provision of its beach huts and chalets. The programme also covers beach huts in Sidmouth, Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton. It has been proposed to allocate £19,000 towards new beach hut schemes and the replacing of older huts.

Any changes would become effective in 2016, and an EDDC spokesperson said: “The current management of all the sites, in addition to the buildings, will be included within the council’s rolling condition survey programme. However, all tenants will be responsible for their own National non-domestic rates (NNDR) payments, where appropriate.”

Tenants will also be expected to commit to their beach hut or chalet conforming to a realistic design, style and colour, in keeping with the overall scheme.

Councillor David Cox, portfolio holder for finance, said: “The principles behind the review of the beach huts and chalets are valid and solid. It is important that in the current economically challenging climate, the council takes a more robust commercially rounded approach to its assets. The changes will be initiated in 2016, which will give ample time for consultation and will ensure that proper consideration is given to the management of these non-residential assets.”

“A proposal that the managed hut sites at Seaton West and Budleigh Salterton will be offered on the open market as a site-only package, with a £250 one-off charge for an existing hut, will be the subject of further consultation. The Seaton Searchlight Emplacement will be offered for sale on either a freehold interest or leasehold basis. "The site, which is currently vacant, has already attracted expressions of interest from local groups and the town council.”

Seaton Town Council has expressed an interest in buying the four sites it currently rents from EDDC. A letter formally expressing an interest was sent last week, and the council is awaiting a reply.

“The site fees at Beer, which are significantly lower than those in other parts of East Devon, will be brought into line with other open market rents when they come up for renewal. Subject to consultation, Beer’s 56 sites will be offered on the open market, with new five-year leases to commence on April 1st 2016.”

At a meeting of Beer Parish Council last week (January 13th) councillors agreed that there could be no objection to raising annual rents to match those charged to private rentals but concern was expressed as to how the new leases would be awarded.

“There must be some priority given to existing beach hut holders,” said Councillor Geoff Pook, who also represents Beer and Branscombe on EDDC. He added: “But at the moment we don’t know the mechanism for dishing them out and whether the current holders will have first claim.”

There was a concern that the beach huts could become available on the free market which councillors felt shouldn’t be allowed to happen.  “What we don’t want is for the beach huts to become like holiday homes with people getting hold of them and then never using them,” added Councillor Pook. He also said: “The beach huts in Beer are totally different from the ones in Budleigh Salterton and Seaton. They are part of the character of Beer and there is a tradition of families using them after the school and into the evenings. If holiday home owners got them and didn’t use them it would kill the area.” Councillor Pook stressed again that discussions were still on-going and a final decision had yet to be made on how the new lease system would work.


SEATON: Future of beach huts under review - View from Seaton

SIDMOUTH: Seafront huts set for revamp

20th January 2015 by Jack Dixon jack@pemedia.co.uk

A MAJOR refurbishment programme will be launched next year to improve the condition of Sidmouth’s beach huts, council bosses have confirmed. Following an extensive review of its chalets along the coast from Exmouth to Seaton, East Devon District Council will create a £19,000 sinking fund to facilitate new beach hut schemes in the future.

The council says the move will “ensure the viability and sustainability of the beach huts as an enduring local amenity” and enable old chalets to be replaced. The plan will be set in motion in April 2016, but the council’s cabinet has already recommended that a planning application is submitted for new and improved huts to replace the existing ones at Jacob’s Ladder. Councillors will also consider the possibility of adding a further ten huts along the seafront, between the Esplanade and Chit rocks.

Councillor David Cox, EDDC’s portfolio holder for finance, said there was significant interest from members of the public for space to be utilised for extra huts. “Not surprisingly there is considerable demand for beach huts at Sidmouth, which cannot at present be met,” he said. “The provision of these additional huts will give more people the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful local amenity and will enhance the new development at Jacob’s Ladder.”

The replacement huts will follow an improved style and design, with extra facilities added to encourage more visitors to Sidmouth during the summer. Though the new huts are subject to planning permission and consultation with residents, the council says there is a positive future ahead for the town’s seafront chalets.

Councillor Cox added: “The principles behind the review of the beach huts and chalets are valid and solid. It is important that in the current economically challenging climate, the council takes a more robust, commercially rounded approach to its assets. The changes will be initiated in 2016, which will give ample time for consultation and will ensure that proper consideration is given to the management of these non-residential assets.”

Further improvements are also planned at Budleigh Salterton, Exmouth, Seaton and Beer next year.


SIDMOUTH: Seafront huts set for revamp - View from Sidmouth

SIDMOUTH: ‘Huts will hurt our seafront’

20 January 2015 Stephen Sumner


Possible location of beach huts at Sidmouth. Ref shs 5466-03-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Possible location of beach huts at Sidmouth. Ref shs 5466-03-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Ten new beach huts could help slash an eight-year waiting list in Sidmouth – but critics have claimed it is a money-grabbing move that will ruin the view on a popular walkway.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) cabinet backed a move for the properties - between the end of The Esplanade and Chit Rocks - when it met last week, together with plans to upgrade the 24 existing huts at Jacob’s Ladder.

Some members stressed the need for more consultation on the issue, which has already proved controversial.

Businessman Richard Eley told the Herald this week: “The suggestion of beach huts at Clifton beach need to be considered very carefully. The huts will have a significant impact upon the nationally renowned listed buildings of Clifton Terrace, will undermine the attractiveness of the Millennium Walkway and will be very prone to storm damage.

“I doubt that makes the proposition viable. There’s also the issue of further commercialisation of the seafront, which most people would regard as controversial.”

Writing on the Herald’s Facebook page, resident Penny Hartnell said: “Just another way for the council to make thousands of pounds. Why add something so unsightly to a beach that is already struggling to maintain a beautiful look, given the much needed yet ugly coastal defences. I would gladly sign a petition to oppose any beach hut erection.”

Graham Bishop added that the ‘first good storm’ would wash the huts away, while Nadine Howe called for them to be accessible to local people.

Moira Lascelles said: “More beach huts would be a shame. Seaton always looks so much better as soon as all the beach huts disappear, so why inflict them on Sidmouth as well?” Lee Solman disagreed, saying: “I can’t see the problem with beach huts on Clifton beach. Could look good.”

Supporting the plans, district councillor David Cox said: “Not surprisingly there is considerable demand for beach huts at Sidmouth, which cannot, at present, be met. These additional huts will give more people the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful local amenity and will enhance the new development at Jacob’s Ladder.”

1 comment:

Pelagic Thursday, January 22, 2015

Why ruin what is a prime area of the esplanade , with beach huts for 10 tenants?

‘Huts will hurt our seafront’ - News - Sidmouth Herald


BUDLEIGH SALTERTON: Consultation to be held on beach hut plan

16 January 2015 Sean Keywood



Beach huts at Budleigh Salterton.

Plans by district bosses to sell beach huts on Budleigh Salterton beach are to be subject to further consultation.

At its most recent meeting, East Devon District Council’s cabinet considered changes to its beach huts across East Devon, including plans to offer those who currently rent a hut in Budleigh the chance to buy it, subsequently renting just the site. Councillors decided that more consultation should be carried out before the Budleigh scheme goes ahead.

Budleigh councillor and deputy cabinet member for the environment, Tom Wright, previously said he was keen to protect huts rented out for short periods by Budleigh Tourist Information Centre. The council says its plan would save money on maintenance, while tenants would quickly be able to recoup their purchase price through the cheaper rent they would pay for the site on its own.

Pending the result of the consultation, the scheme is scheduled to be implemented by the council in April 2016.

It will also be considering possible alternative uses for its beach hut storage facility in Station Road, which would no longer be needed if the huts were sold.


Consultation to be held on beach hut plan - News - Exmouth Journal


EXMOUTH: Leisure area deal will change face of seafront

15 January 2015 David Beasley



Watersports centre

Building work on a new, two-acre, two-storey seafront watersports centre could begin later this year, following a deal between district bosses and an Exeter-based developer.

But, as a consequence, 37 of Exmouth’s iconic multi-coloured beach huts will need to be dismantled - changing the face of the seafront.

The proposal, by Grenadier Estates, has been accepted by East Devon District Council (EDDC), and represents the first phase of the new Queen’s Drive leisure area. Once built, the development will include a clubhouse/restaurant, shops, caf├ęs, showers, changing rooms, toilets, offices, a training room and a bar with an open-air theatre. The centre will also give schools a boost, allowing them to add watersports to their sporting curriculums.

Although outline planning consent has been agreed, detailed planning permission would be needed before building work can start. The development relies on diverting part of Queen’s Drive behind the site, allowing easier access to the beach.

But this means that the beach huts would need to be removed. Work could begin this year.

Some businesses have been allowed to continue trading until September, while the Model Railway has already closed after district bosses refused to extend the lease.

Jason Hayes, Grenadier Estates’ chief executive, said: “Our proposal is that the facility will ultimately be run by a Community Interest Company, which is bound by its ability to use its profits and assets for the public good. This will be of enormous benefit to Exmouth, its residents and visitors.”

EDDC’s Exmouth Champion, Littleham councillor John Humphreys, said: “Re-routing the road will make a huge difference to users of our seafront. It will be safer, more family friendly and the plans offer new, much more diverse and exciting facilities for both residents and visitors. More and more people are interested in water-based activities, and with this development, they will see Exmouth as a natural destination. More facilities, more jobs, more opportunities. Local people will have even more reason to be delighted that they live in this jewel on Devon’s coastline, It’s a win-win situation.”


Leisure area deal will change face of seafront - News - Exmouth Journal
A third of seafront beach huts could disappear in facelift - News - Exmouth Journal
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