Tendring: Beach hut owners’ fury over rent hike
CAMPAIGNERS have warned that a hike in beach hut rates will lead to an Essex seafront “spiralling into decay”.
Tendring District Council (TDC) is considering putting up the annual charge for beach hut owners by six per cent for Tendring residents and ten per cent for non-residents from April 1.
There are about 3,000 beach huts along the district’s coastline with the main clusters in Clacton and Holland, Harwich and Dovercourt, Walton, Frinton and Brightlingsea.
Chairman of Clacton and Holland Beach Hut Association, Linda Jacobs, said that the rise in fees would put beach huts “beyond the reach of families already struggling with rising food and fuel costs”.
She added that the plans could see a “mass exodus of traditional beach hut users” resulting in Tendring’s “underused seafront areas spiralling into decay”.
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The council’s plans were announced to members of the five beach hut associations by Stephen Mayzes, the council’s cabinet member for leisure, at a meeting on Wednesday night.
Cllr Mayzes said: “I felt the meeting went well and while it would be wrong to say that the associations welcomed the suggested rise I feel they could see why we have to do it.
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“No one likes a hike in fees but TDC is facing up to a huge reduction in funding from the government which means it has to make savings of �4.3 million by 2014.
“We have to look at all our services – especially discretionary services which leisure is – in an effort to lower costs and maximise our income.
“The charges are significantly less than those made by some other coastal authorities.”
Mrs Jacobs said that she was not convinced by the council’s argument adding: “It is particularly galling to see the size of the increase for those who live outside the district as these people bring in friends, family and others who spend their time and money in Clacton.
“How will this help to regenerate the district through tourism if we drive these people away?
“Beach hut owners are a captive audience, we cannot change our landlord, we cannot remove our beach huts to elsewhere, we are sitting ducks in TDCs drive to generate income.”
The council has also proposed to increase the fee to transfer beach huts from �65 to �600 which campaigners believe will deter potential new beach hut owners.
The proposed changes will be discussed by TDC’s Cabinet on Wednesday (January 26).