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Monday, 9 June 2014

Beach Hut Dilemma

Any visit to Milford on Sea seafront will be met by the sad sight of caged off areas containing damaged beach huts or the empty bases where one once stood.

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The destruction of the Beach Huts following the Valentine's Night Storm continues to cause distress for the owners, a headache for the council and a sad looking fenced sea view for visitors.

No-one asked for this problem, but a large group of people are trying to get it resolved.

As we understand it, the current situation is that the council wish to demolished the rest of the Milford on Sea seafront concrete beach huts, and replace them with smaller individual lightweight concrete clad timber huts. (At the owners expense). NFDC are prepared to put in up to £150,000 of taxpayers’ money to demolish those of the existing huts that still stand. 

Many owners are strongly objecting to this proposal on a number of levels.

A high proportion of those that have beach huts that survived the storm with minor damage simply want to get them repaired and to use them now that the summer is here. Those that had huts destroyed in the storm, or subsequently removed by the Council, simply want what they had back.

The Council have raised some Health & Safety issues, which are seen as pretty weak by many of the owners. There is also a view that the concrete huts are old, tired and ugly, especially when viewing from behind. A contrary view is that they have been part of the character of Milford on Sea seafront since the 1960's.

click image to enlarge
As we see it, the biggest problem with the council's 'individual beach hut' idea, is that they are likely to be significantly damaged not long after going up. Any walk along the seafront after regular high seas, and you would see shingle from the beach pushed right up against the front of the beach huts. If would be fair to assume that concrete huts can withstand this better than a wooden or other lightweight version.

Whilst a decision is made on all of the seafront beach huts, all owners are prevented from entering their beach huts and the beach scene is sad and unsightly.

Should the individual beach hut proposal be approved, it is thought that each owner would be asked to buy a new hut to a uniform design. This in itself raises many more questions such as, would individual owners or some other body organise this, will there be council approval for a scheme, who would instruct the builders and who would pay for all the work on behalf of them all? Also, all beach huts owners would then face a building bill, which nobody is going to welcome even if they can afford it.

The big question is, what will the decision be?

The next Council cabinet meeting to discuss and hopefully finalise the issue will be on Wednesday 6th August.

1 comment:

  1. Whilst I have great sympathy for those whose beach huts were damaged in the Valentine storm I have to say that for me Milford as a whole has benefited greatly. The concrete huts near the Needles Eye cafe have always been an ugly eyesore and obstruction as you look out to sea from the promenade. Dare I say they even give a downmarket feel to the front.! Now, where huts have been flattened, the view is open and attractive. Much more pleasant and in keeping with Milford's progress as a thriving vibrant village. And I have just learned from an official source that many of the beach huts are not even owned by locals and that my sentiments are common among locals. Personally I hope they are not replaced and that as many others as possible are removed

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