Owners object to moving as new sites revealed for prom beach huts
- Credit: Archant
Objections have poured in over proposals to move beach huts from a resort's prom to a new clifftop home, where a number of trees will be felled to create the pitches.
East Suffolk Council has been searching for new sites for 55 huts since they had to be removed from the beach due to erosion three years ago.
Some of the huts, which currently partially block the prom, have been relocated to Manor End and The Dip.
The council is now seeking to move the remaining 44 to sites at South Beach, Clifflands, Manor End, Golf Road, and south of the pier.
As yet hut owners do not know where they will be moved and consultation is ongoing.
The Golf Road proposal has already generated 25 objections, Clifflands 20 protests and Manor End 51.
Opponents are strongly against moving their huts from the current area of seafront where they are located - and feel the council should restore the beach so the wooden chalets can return to their original positions.
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Resident Andrew Dugdall-Marshall said beach huts had been part of the Spa area for 125 years.
He said: "The most sensible solution would be to keep the Spa huts in their current situation until the beach replenishment, or alternatives, are fully explored."
Hut owner Heather Carpenter said the Golf Road proposed site was not appropriate - the back row on a clifftop.
She said: "We bought our beach hut so our grandchildren would be able to enjoy the safe bathing and proximity to parental supervision that our children did growing up. To put huts there is to render them useless for the purpose they were intended and I appeal to the planning committee that this is grossly unfair to the owners of the Spa huts."
Objector David Healey said there was "great concern" over the plan to fell trees to make way for the clifftop huts.
He said: "There is also the danger of causing further cliff erosion and instability in The Golf Road cliff area by removing existing root systems that help stabilize the ground, not to mention the use of heavy machinery and the general disruption such activity will cause."
A study for East Suffolk Council said the new line of 18 beach huts at Golf Road would have no real visual impact on the small wood of white poplars and sycamores - around five of which would be felled.
The council said: "The council, as the developer, is committed to replacing these trees with new planting in the vicinity of the town, planting three for any one tree taken out.
"In this case, new planting would take place at Langer Park in Felixstowe.
"As the huts are sited on their wooden sleepers, there is no requirement for root protection from the development. Care will be taken to ensure that any levelling works do not damage roots of nearby trees of significant amenity value."
Regarding the current Spa Beach location, the council said fluctuating beach levels and the sheer uncertainty of providing a long-lasting sustainable sand platform in this area leaves returning the majority of huts to the beach each year as unsustainable.
The council said: "A number of options to build platforms or replenish sand at this location have been explored and unfortunately discarded. Either the option is not sustainable – moving large amount of sand each year, which will potentially be subject to erosion shown above, or provides a physical structure that takes up whole bays of the beach and cannot be safeguarded to withstand further erosion and stormy weather."
Putting the 55 huts at the Spa on the prom was never a long-term solution and their presence on the prom - a designated highway - all year round is "not considered appropriate in terms of health and safety due to the growing number of visitors to the resort".