Beach hut owners angry after damage

11:12 17 February 2014

Budleigh beach huts were damaged during the storms. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref exb 1486-06-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Budleigh beach huts were damaged during the storms. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref exb 1486-06-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

Budleigh beach hut owners and residents are saying ‘hate to say we told you so’ to district bosses after huts left out for winter were damaged by storms.

Previously, East Devon District Council (EDDC) rented out beach huts and hut sites during the summer tourist season, which were then removed for winter.

However, this year, EDDC changed its rental agreements to cover all 12 months of the year – with an associated hike in fees making the council around £20,000 in extra revenue.

The council says it took its decision after requests from hut owners, but critics say the move was designed to raise revenue - and has now backfired.

N and C Rogers wrote to the Journal this week to say: “As long-time beach hut owners, we warned EDDC of damage during winter storms and this came to pass on February 4 and 5.

“We took our beach hut down for the winter as per usual and are pleased we did in view of the damage sustained, but were still forced to pay an extra £122 for the privilege of retaining the plot for the whole year.

“The huts being allowed to stay up is nothing more than an increased income-raising exercise by EDDC - and the owners received no extra service.”

Otter Valley Association (OVA) chairman Nicola Daniel said that the OVA had previously warned EDDC that there had been seven storms since the 1970s of sufficient severity to wreck huts. She said: “Sadly, our warnings have been proved soundly based all too soon.

“Bad decisions have been taken, in the face of well-founded advice, with cost consequences for both beach hut owners and the ratepayers. These costs are avoidable.”

Mrs Daniel added that the OVA was still waiting for EDDC to submit a planning application for year-round huts, which the council acknowledged was needed in October last year.

In response to the criticism, an EDDC spokesman said its decision had been carefully considered, and admitted raising revenue was a factor, but said the council had been caught out by unprecedented weather.

The spokesman said: “Hut owners’ concerns were not ignored and, where we received letters or emails, we responded.

“We considered the risk of damage during the winter and, after weighing it against the savings we would make from erecting and dismantling the huts, concluded that the risk was acceptable.

“In previous years, huts have been damaged in the summer and in other years huts have been left in situ year round (Steamer Steps) and suffered no damage.

“We felt the beach at Budleigh had established sufficiently to offer the huts a degree of protection. What we, like many others in the region and further afield, did not account for was the worst storms in 25 years.

“The reason for extending the season was partly in response to repeated requests from some hut tenants to extend the season, but it was also seen as a way to help increase revenue from our assets.”

The spokesman added that ratepayers would not have to pay for hut repairs, as this would be covered by insurance and also the savings from not dismantling huts, and said submission of the awaited planning application was ‘imminent’.

1 comment

  • Why do we always have to have a EDDC 'Spokesman'? Why doesn't anyone have the courage to put their name to all the inaccurate statements made? 1. Council owned huts have been left up all year for some time now. How they get insurance cover when they have deliberately left them at risk, I don't know. 2. Many people have complained they have not received replies to letters and emails. 3. Note they have now changed from 'hut owners' requesting all year use to 'hut tenants'. Just how many requested this, I wonder.

    Report this comment

    Roger Boud

    Monday, February 17, 2014

Other News Stories

09:00
exe All Award winners with Mr Alexander

Pupils from Exmouth Community College have been recognised at an awards evening with a difference, rewarding their qualities as people.

Read more
11:30
Andrew Chapman (UKIP)

East Devon constituency candidates for the General Election answer readers’ questions

Read more
07:00
Andrew Chapman (UKIP)

East Devon constituency candidates for the General Election answer readers’ questions

Read more
Yesterday, 11:57
Woodbury Salterton pupils have made an igloo out of milk bottles. Ref exe 2108-13-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Pupils from Woodbury Salterton Church of England Primary School turned 500 milk containers into an igloo as part of their work on living in cold places.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:56

District bosses are warning residents about a council tax refund scam.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:24
Labour Party leader Ed Miiband and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon during the BBC Challengers' Election Debate 2015. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

David Cameron has warned of more borrowing and taxes if Ed Miliband does a deal with the Scottish National Party (SNP) to become Prime Minister.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:10
Let There be Light-A la Ronde's Assistant House Steward James Weckmueller is pictured lighting two of the gas lamps at the National Trust property. Visitors can come and view the collection of lamps and mantles and also watch the lamps being lit daily at 11am. Ref exe 2267-15-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

People visiting A la Ronde this month will be able to see the house’s Victorian-style gas lamps and lanterns lit.

Read more
Thu, 15:26

There’s a reunion coming up soon for pupils who left Exmouth Comprehensive School 30 years ago.

Read more
Thu, 15:13
Dan Lavery of the Devon Freewheelers. Ref exe 1256-13-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Devon Freewheelers’ founder Daniel Lavery explains what prompted him to sell the family home to start up a charity that would become a vital lifeline throughout Devon

Read more
Thu, 15:13
Devon Freewheelers. Ref exe 1280-13-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Devon Freewheelers operates ‘hand-to-mouth’, with founder Daniel Lavery checking the daily bank balance through his fingers. Find out how you can help the lifeline charity.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 4°C

Most Read News

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition today E-edition



Exmouth's trusted business finder