Council could look to TIC to run beach huts

PUBLISHED: 11:00 11 August 2015

Beach huts at Budleigh Salterton.

Beach huts at Budleigh Salterton.

Archant

Budleigh’s Tourist Information Centre (TIC) could be asked to manage the town’s beach huts, as an alternative to previous proposals to auction them off.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) announced plans earlier this year which would see existing tenancies ended, and waiting lists scrapped, with new five-year leases auctioned off, and only tenants who have had a hut for four years or less able to apply for a five-year extension.

This proved unpopular with Budleigh Salterton Town Council, and with hut owners, who feared it would see locals ‘priced out’.

EDDC is now considering the results of its consultation on the idea, but in a series of meetings with hut owners, including in Budleigh, Councillor Geoff Pook, chairman of the council’s asset management forum, has said that it would listen to ideas for the huts’ future. One of these was that the huts could be given to town councils to manage.

Town and district councillor Steve Hall told the town council: “My first reaction is that we, as we are staffed at the moment, don’t have the resources to administer the management of the beach huts.

“In consultation with the chairman [Courtney Richards], we were just kicking around an idea, which is all we can do at the moment, that in the event of that we may consider taking them on - there is a financial cost - but ask the TIC if they would like to do the administration, as they do already, and keep a commission.”

The TIC currently offers 12 huts for short-term hire.

Cllr Richards said: “It might be an option and, if it is, it will be fully discussed around this [town council] table.”

Cllr Pook said: “One possibility we have is to go to the five [town and parish] councils involved and say how do you think waiting lists could be addressed, can you get more in, and what about if you managed it yourself, if the councils paid EDDC a lump sum, and they manage letting and take income as well.”

Cllr Pook stressed that this was just one of a number of possibilities, and no decision had yet been made.

The asset management forum is expected to consider the results of the consultation in September.

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