This in from East Devon District Council:
We would be very grateful if you could please help us publicise the consultation we are currently running on our beach huts, beach hut sites and beach chalets service with your residents.
Beach huts form a popular part of East Devon’s coastal heritage and we are responsible for managing and maintaining 237 of them, together with 20 beach chalets and 241 beach hut sites in Budleigh Salterton, Seaton West, Seaton East, Beer, Sidmouth and Exmouth.
As part of councillors’ recommendations to implement an extensive improvement and management programme for the beach huts service (a decision that was made by Cabinet in January 2015), we are inviting everyone to have their say on proposals for the future of beach huts, beach hut sites and beach chalets by looking at the proposals and responding to our online questionnaire before Monday 13 July:
All current beach hut, beach hut site and beach chalet hirers, and all those on waiting lists will be receiving a paper copy of the consultation in the post. All town and parish councils with beach huts, beach hut sites and beach chalets in their town or parish have been contacted separately. However, it may be that you have people living in your town or parish that would like the opportunity to hire a beach hut, beach hut site or beach chalet but aren’t on a waiting list, or people that currently hire one or are on waiting lists to hire one.
Why the changes?
1. We are looking for better ways to give a wider number of people the opportunity to lease a beach hut/chalet/beach hut site. At present there are over 300 people on waiting lists – most of the lists are so long that they have been closed to new applicants for some time.
2. Government funding cuts have affected all district council services, forcing us to find money elsewhere. This is why we are looking at ways to get the most out of assets such as our beach huts, beach hut sites and beach chalets. We don’t have to provide this service, but we knows how much it means to residents and visitors. This is why more cost effective ways must be found to administer it. At present, some of the costs are being absorbed by council tax payers, so they are subsidizing the beach huts, chalets and beach hut sites. We want to ensure that public money is well spent and if we can collect more money from this enterprise than it costs to provide, then this income can be reinvested in making improvements.
The main change we are proposing to make is to end all existing hire agreements for beach huts, beach hut sites and beach chalets that we own and manage. Instead, five-year leases will then be offered on the open market and anyone will have the chance to bid, including current hirers. The successful bidders will be able to rent the beach hut/beach hut site/beach chalet for five years. After this period, another five-year lease for the site will be offered on the open market.
There are other changes proposed for each location which can be found here along with more information on the above change: www.eastdevon.gov.uk/consultation-and-surveys/beach-huts-service
The recommended changes will not take place until 2016, which gives us time to carry out this consultation and to give the changes proper consideration.
If you could help us publicise this opportunity in any way we would be very grateful. Maybe you have a newsletter within your town or parish that could feature an article encouraging people to take part, maybe you have contacts at local voluntary and community groups that could help publicise it to their members?
If you have any queries please let me know.
Miss Jamie Buckley
Community Engagement and Funding Officer
East Devon District Council
Office: (01395) 517569
Mobile: 07875 284638