Beach huts to be sold to raise funds

A CASH-strapped council is selling two prized beach huts to boost its funds.Four new huts are being built by Waveney District Council on the promenade at Southwold, two for sale and the other two available for rent.

A CASH-strapped council is selling two prized beach huts to boost its funds.

Four new huts are being built by Waveney District Council on the promenade at Southwold, two for sale and the other two available for rent.

But, with the huts going on the market for more than £40,000, it seems unlikely that people living in Waveney will be able to afford one.

Chalets along the picturesque seafront have become popular with visiting holidaymakers in recent years and have achieved a 'des res' status.

In what was seen as a response to soaring demand, the authority banned applications for new huts in 2001.

But earlier this year the council gave itself permission to build new huts - including two at the foot of the steps that rise to the town's High Street.

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Peter Austin, leader of the council, said he hoped local people would have access to the new huts by renting.

"The huts could operate for rent on a daily or weekly basis. That would allow local people to get the benefit of them," he said.

"Obviously, if some are going to be sold, the council is going to want the maximum price for them. And any money raised would be very welcome."

Slim Dinsdale, chairman of the Southwold Beach Hut Owners Association, said the new huts were welcome, but added: "If you look at beach hut prices, they really are outrageously high and £40,000 is going to be way beyond what the majority of people in the area are going to be able to afford. It would be nice to find some mechanism to make the bottom fall out of the market. We had hoped there would be more huts to dilute demand."

The building work has also led to a row with one of the town's regular visitors, Will Pascall.

Mr Pascall, 52, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, owns the Floyd's Place hut, yards from the new structures, and has been bringing his family to Southwold for more than 10 years. He criticised Waveney for turning part of the walkway into a construction site during the summer season.

"I've no problem with having more beach huts. They are great fun and they're good for the town," he said. "The issue is, why build them now?"

David Gallacher, leisure manager at Waveney, said risk assessments had been carried out and the safety of the work monitored throughout the fortnight, when the first two huts were being built. He said the second pair would go up after preparation work.

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