Beach huts must be moved
ALMOST 100 beach hut users in Walton on the Naze have reacted with dismay at news they must move their wooden chalets by the beginning of the Summer.But the owner of the site on which the beach huts stand said yesterday he had no choice but to force them to leave because the area was in danger of having a serious land slip.
By Roddy Ashworth
ALMOST 100 beach hut users in Walton on the Naze have reacted with dismay at news they must move their wooden chalets by the beginning of the Summer.
But the owner of the site on which the beach huts stand said yesterday he had no choice but to force them to leave because the area was in danger of having a serious land slip.
Around 90 people received letters yesterday saying they would have to move their beach-huts from the South Beach area, on the Frinton side of the pier, because remedial work on the land was necessary.
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Under the terms of the rental agreements, Cinque Port Leisure – which recently acquired Walton Pier – has given three months notice to the beach hut owners, asking them to remove the structures by May 11.
Barry McGregor, group manager of the firm, said Tendring District Council visited at the end of last year with regard to the state of the land.
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"They said they weren't happy with the footpaths or the land itself," he said.
"Basically the problem we have got is that there is a major land slip risk because of the rain over the last two years and there may be an underground stream.
"If we do not address it we could get an injunction. But we cannot do any more investigation into the seriousness of the problem until we have the huts off the land."
He added there could be no guarantee the huts could return because if the work needed to make the site safe cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, it would not be economically viable.
The income from the beach huts there only amounted to about £5,000 per year, Mr McGregor said.
"There have been beach huts on that land for over 50 years. There is no ulterior motive. We are not planning to build flats or kiosks there.
"People seem to have put two and two together, but this is purely a safety issue."
Yesterday, however, beach hut owner Rose Palmer, of North Road, Walton, said: "We feel this is just an excuse to get our beach huts off and take back our part of the land.
"We are not going to sit back and let this happen. I think they could straighten the landslip without moving our beach huts."
Frinton and Walton Parish Councillor, John Halls, said yesterday he thought the tone of the letters sent on behalf of Cinque Port Leisure were a little blunt, and did not mention the concerns of Tendring District Council.
"We did not know anything about it. Perhaps they should have explained that it was Tendring District Council who had inspected it and advised them.
"I must admit there have been land slips there in the past, but the previous owners have managed to do things with the huts there. These cliffs are all moving."