Future of historic bathing hut in doubt

THE future of a rare bathing hut is under threat after historians were snubbed in their bid to move it to a new site

Richard Smith

THE future of a rare bathing hut is under threat after historians were snubbed in their bid to move it to a new site

Aldeburgh Museum wants £14,000 to be spent on renovating a 19th Century bathing hut and to position it on the Moot Green away from the ravages of the sea.

But the town council has turned down the request because it believes it is more appropriate to put the bathing machine on the beach - where it was used to take women down to the water's edge where they demurely entered the North Sea.

Now the ancient and dilapidated building could be taken away from Aldeburgh and given to another town as a row continues over a suitable location.

The blue and white striped hut, minus its wheels, is on shingle opposite the Moot Green and needs urgent renovation.

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The museum owns the relic and trustees are worried that a bid for grant money will fail if the proposed location is on the beach, because the hut would deteriorate quicker in the weather and therefore it would be a waste of public money to renovate it.

But Aldeburgh Town Council's finance and general purposes committee has recommended to the full council the beach was the best place, although a location was not specified.

The full council passed this resolution although four councillors abstained from voting.

Alison Foxon, a town councillor, warned: “It has been bought to my attention from somebody working closely to this that if the bathing hut was to be located on the beach, then the bathing hut might be moved to a different town.”

Cllr Felicity Bromage said: “The bathing huts in the past - and I have the pictures to prove it - were always on the beach with their chalets, but they were taken away in the winter. I do not think anybody has the right to take our bathing hut away from our town.”

Kevin Webster, chairman of the finance and general purposes committee, said: “I fear that if it is on the Green then it would not make any difference weather-wise. It should be on the beach.”

Ron Ward, chairman of the museum's trustees, said: “I think we have reached a crossroads. We have this hut which would be criminal to let it go to waste and it is the only one in the country left. There is no cost to the town council so all we are asking for is a location.”

The beach is owned by Suffolk Coastal District Council - which also owns some areas around the Green - and therefore they will have to be consulted before any decision is made.

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