Council claims beach hut success - but some vacancies still in Exmouth and Budleigh
PUBLISHED: 13:35 24 May 2016
District bosses say demand for beach huts in East Devon is still strong, despite changes to tenancy agreements.
Following a sharp hike in fees for this year, 24 per cent of previous tenants, of beach huts, hut sites, and chalets, relinquished their rentals.
But after East Devon District Council (EDDC) marketed these vacancies to people on its waiting lists – in some cases for the first time in eight years – just six per cent of the vacancies remain.
These include four beach huts at Exmouth, one larger chalet in Exmouth, currently under offer, and seven beach hut sites in Budleigh.
The council is now offering its remaining available beach hut sites and beach hut rentals to its waiting lists in blocks of 30 people at a time, on a first-come first-served basis.
Beach hut site rentals for the 2016 to 2017 season range from £319 to £652, with charges for chalets going up to £1,535.
In addition to the hire charge, there is a service charge to cover rates.
Any rental taken up mid-season will be offered a pro-rata rate.
Councillor Iain Chubb, EDDC’s portfolio holder for the environment, said:
“The strong take-up of our beach huts proves that our huts, chalets and sites are realistically priced.
“Our review of the management of what is one of East Devon’s most popular assets was long overdue and I am pleased that following an extensive consultation process, we have produced a sensible and cost effective solution that enables new hirers (who wouldn’t previously have had a chance to enjoy a beach hut) to take advantage of this golden opportunity.
“The new system is much fairer and it is extremely rewarding to hear so many residents commenting on how delighted they are to have the chance to hire a beach hut, chalet or beach hut site.
“Despite critics saying that only rich people from outside the area would be able to hire a beach hut, our lettings list reveals that the vast majority of beach huts/sites have been let to local people.”
Changes to the rental agreements included an increase in the rental charges for beach huts, beach hut sites and chalets for 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018, an extra fee covering national non domestic rates, which hirers of all beach huts and beach huts sites will now be charged, and a move to providing sites only in Budleigh and Seaton.
To find out more, call 01395 516551 or visit the beach hut pages on the EDDC website at http://eastdevon.gov.uk/seaside/beach-huts/.