Guide East Devon residents Coronavirus update - 3 July 2020

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5. East Devon beach huts and chalets to re-open with charges reduced for the remaining season

East Devon District Council’s beach huts and chalets will re-open from Saturday 4 July, in line with the government’s relaxation of lockdown rules.

The council has 417 beach huts in Beer, Budleigh, Exmouth, Seaton and Sidmouth. It has 20 chalets in Exmouth, which, along with the 68 beach huts can be used all-year-round. The season for the other beach huts runs from late March to the end of October. The beach huts have remained closed since the announcement of lockdown in March.

Now they are being re-opened, the council will put up social distancing signage and ground stencils at each site. Tenants will be given brief guidance on steps they should take at their sites, and will be required to adhere to detailed government guidance on social distancing and hygiene, to ensure that the huts and chalets are used safely and responsibly. For beach hut tenants who are shielding or are unable to use their hut this season the council have agreed that no charge for their hut will be made this year, they will be able to take up their normal rental next year if they wish.

Access for erecting huts or collecting keys will begin w/c 29th June, and we are requiring that all huts are up within a strict 3 week period, to minimise any impact on the summer holidays. Tenants will be responsible for ensuring the safety of hut erections, adhering to covid-19 secure guidance and safe methods of operation or ensuring their contractors do so.

To compensate for the lost time due to the Lockdown we are holding the beach hut charge rate from last year and reducing it pro-rata for the remaining season.

Councillor Paul Hayward, Deputy Leader of East Devon District Council and Cabinet Portfolio Member for Economy, Asset Management and Regeneration said:

I am delighted that these much-loved and well-used public amenities are now able to be re-opened, subject to the necessary social distancing and signage. Cllr. John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council, is absolute spot on when he states that ‘Devonians are sensible people, who behave sensibly and follow the rules’. We all have personal responsibility for ourselves, and to protect our loved ones and neighbours. Summer is an intrinsic part of Devon life and the ability to sit by the seaside is an oft overlooked pleasure and will allow us to return to some sense of normality whilst recognising - at all times - that the virus still exists, and will not hesitate to strike again if we are not all very careful. It would be remiss of me not to mention that revenue from the hire of these huts plays a part in balancing the Council’s books and thus every day that they remained closed worsened our financial position, and made the job of providing quality services to all residents that much harder. But I wholeheartedly believe that Council has struck the right balance between public safety, and public amenity, in this decision and look forward to seeing our beaches and tourist spots bustling with laughter and fun again - in a safe, secure and sensible manner of course”