Beach huts and chalets to be improved in new management programme starting April 2016
Following a detailed review, East Devon District Council cabinet has recommended that an extensive refurbishment and replacement programme be put in place to improve the current provision of its popular beach huts and chalets at Sidmouth, Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Seaton and Beer.
To ensure the economic viability and sustainability of the beach huts, as an enduring local amenity, a sinking fund of £19,000 will be established, which will enable new beach hut schemes to be created. It will also mean that old huts, which have reached the end of their life, can be replaced.
The current management of all the sites, in addition to the buildings, will be included within the council’s rolling condition survey programme. However, all tenants will be now responsible for their own National non domestic rates (NNDR) payments, where appropriate.
Tenants will also be expected to commit to their beach hut or chalet conforming to a realistic design, style and colour, in keeping with the overall scheme.
Councillor David Cox, portfolio holder for finance, said:
The principles behind the review of the beach huts and chalets are valid and solid. It is important that in the current economically challenging climate, the council takes a more robust commercially rounded approach to its assets.
The changes will be initiated in 2016, which will give ample time for consultation and will ensure that proper consideration is given to the management of these non-residential assets.
The future of Sidmouth’s beach huts is looking positive as members recommended that a planning application be submitted for new huts, in an improved style and design, to replace the existing ones at Jacob’s Ladder, which have reached the end of their life.
In addition, the members have recommended that consideration be given for a further ten beach hut sites on the beach at Sidmouth, between the end of the Esplanade and Chit rocks. This will be subject to planning permission, viability assessment and consultation with residents.
Not surprisingly there is considerable demand for beach huts at Sidmouth, which cannot at present be met, said Cllr Cox.
The provision of these additional huts will give more people the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful local amenity and will enhance the new development at Jacob’s Ladder.
Seaton and Budleigh Salterton
A proposal that the managed hut sites at Seaton West and Budleigh Salterton will be offered on the open market as a site-only package, with a £250 one-off charge for an existing hut, will be the subject of further consultation.
It was also agreed that alternative use options for the beach hut storage unit at Budleigh, will be explored if the site-only proposals are adopted.
The Seaton Searchlight Emplacement will be offered for sale on either a freehold interest or leasehold basis. The site, which is currently vacant, has already attracted expressions of interest from local groups and the Town Council.
As part of Exmouth seafront’s wider regeneration programme, the future of the huts at Exmouth will be considered in the context of the masterplanned projects to deliver Exmouth’s vision.
The site fees at Beer, which are significantly lower than those in other parts of East Devon, will be brought into line with other open market rents when they come up for renewal.
Subject to consultation, Beer’s 56 sites will be offered on the open market, with new five-year leases to commence on 1 April 2016.