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

49 minutes ago
Anthony Turner was jailed for 33 months

An internet predator has been jailed after he groomed a 15-year-old girl through an online messaging service and arranged to meet her for sex.

Read more
09:49
Members of Exmouth and Budleigh Explorer Scouts in Vietnam.

A group of youngsters from Exmouth and Budleigh are helping others during a trip to Vietnam.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:30
Checking for treasure-four year old Jasmine Warren with Daine Waddington at Budleigh's Fairlynch Mueum Family Fun Day on Saturday. Ref exb 5191-30-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Budleigh’s Fairlynch Museum has shown visitors young and old the fun side of history at a smugglers and pirates-themed family fun day.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:31
Families enjoyed pond dipping at the Devon Wildlife Trust's open day at Bystock nature reserve as part of East Devon Heath Week. Ref exe 5782-30-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Heath Week 2015

Read more
Yesterday, 12:12

‘Boy racers’ driving on the seafront are so organised that they even have lookouts to avoid the police, it has been claimed.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:12
Regular users of the sailability boat Martin Hutchins and Lucy Rutherford at the naming ceremony. Ref exe 8945-26-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

The Exe Sailing Club’s newest addition to its flotilla was launched last week.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:30
Tooth decay for the UK

East Devon has the lowest rate of tooth decay in five-year-olds in the county - thanks to initiatives by dentists and health chiefs.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:29
Nine month old Leo Burton. Ref exe 1984-25-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

More than 30 children marched along Exmouth seafront to show their support for a nine-month-old boy in Lympstone who has a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:27
Vote

More than 40 people have joined the East Devon Liberal Democrats in the 10 weeks since the local and general elections.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:22
Topsham Primary School year six pupils, Jack, Noah, Oliver, Joel celebrate winning the Exe Challenge competition with teacher Mr Evans. Ref ext 2839-29-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

A group of pupils from Topsham Primary School were crowned Exe Valley Challenge champions.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 8°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

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

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

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



Exmouth's trusted business finder