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More than 500 protesters join march against proposed Felixstowe beach hut rent rises

PUBLISHED: 15:40 12 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:10 13 March 2017

Another creative sign says,

Another creative sign says, "home is where the hut is" at the Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

Harman H Hopkins (H3 Photography)

“It sends a clear message that we are not going to go down without a fight.”

Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

That is how a leading campaigner against the proposed rent rises for beach huts in Felixstowe has described a march in the town today, which attracted more than 500 protesters.

Jo Woodward, chairwoman of the Felixstowe Beach Hut and Chalet Association, said: “It was an incredible turnout, we were all amazed.

“There were lots of people singing, we had a chant going.

Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

“It was a really good atmosphere and it was done in a jovial fashion, we are not aggressive.

“It’s our protest to Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) to say we want our voices to be heard.”

SCDC is reviewing its beach hut service in the face of Government cutbacks.

Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

The authority is suggesting a 10% annual rent rise for the next eight years, the introduction of 10-year leases and in future a £7,000 up-front premium to take on a lease.

Mrs Woodward said these changes would be “unfair” and “unrealistic”.

Since the council announced the proposed price hike, Mrs Woodward said membership of the Felixstowe Beach Hut and Chalet Association had almost doubled.

Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

She added: “Most people who own these huts have had them for well over 11 years, many have been in families for generations and passed down.

“They are not seen as capital assets or assets to invest in, they are people’s wooden sheds by the sea that local families use.”

Campaigners have adopted the slogan: “Felixstowe beach huts are not cash cows”, with some people dressing up as the black and white animal during today’s rally.

Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

In 2017 the town’s beach hut rates went up by 3.25%.

SCDC has just held a public consultation about the reform, but has not yet published the results.

TJ Haworth-Culf, cabinet member for leisure, said: “The beach hut service is just one of many being reviewed by the council.

Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

“As an organisation, we are faced with on-going reduction in support from central Government and are seeking to protect the local council taxpayer, by making sure we maximise the contribution we get from our publicly owned assets and services we offer.

“At this stage, no decisions have been taken on how the beach hut service will be managed, or what charges will be levied, in the future.”

Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

Protestors wear hats as they hold up their signs at the Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Protestors wear hats as they hold up their signs at the Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

Women holds up a sign at the Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)Women holds up a sign at the Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)

"SCDC are trying to milk us" says one protestor at the Beach Hut Protest at Felixstowe on the 12th March 2017. Photo by Harman Hopkins (H3 Photography)


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