Search This Blog

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Beach Hut Plan Afoot

Since the Valentine’s Night storm in February 201, of the original 118 concrete beach huts on Milford on Sea Lower Promenade, 33 are no longer in place and 85 are in need of repair.

We understand that on Wednesday next week the Council's 'Cabinet' will meet to discuss what ought to be the final paper to resolve the beach hut issue. 

The beach hut owners have been clamouring for repairs to be allowed where necessary for those having huts with little or no damage, and those that had huts now demolished seek rebuilding as soon as practical. Some local flat owners would prefer all huts to be removed without replacement and, almost six months down the line the seafront still resembles a prison compound. 

After a number of surveys it has been established that elements of the existing huts are of inadequate design, the roof slabs have suffered from 50 years exposure to the sea and asbestos is incorporated into most of the structures.

Each beach hut is privately owned and in principle the owners are responsible for repair or rebuild as necessary, and could have insured the risk had they wished. So, for the Council there are complex and conflicting pressures.
Further investigations were authorised by NFDC’s Cabinet at their meeting on 4th June. In turn, reports and damage assessments have been obtained from structural engineers and conceptual engineering designs, with budget costs developed by coastal construction specialists. After absorbing the options available, the proposed solution is that:
  1. All huts should be demolished and the lower promenade (on which they stand) removed
  2. A more resilient line of slabs should be cast to form a new lower promenade and to provide enhanced coastal defences
  3. New huts should be built in reinforced concrete
  4. Existing hut owners will be invited to join the scheme and pay part of the new huts’ cost
  5. Those who had huts now demolished are to pay what would have been the cost of replacing on a like-for-like basis (i.e. in concrete blockwork - £4,600.)
  6. Owners with huts still standing will pay the lesser of the repair cost for their hut or the rebuild cost. Their payments will range from £2,800 to £4600 depending on extent of the repairs needed.
  7. Owners’ contributions will cover most of the rebuild cost and in total will be £516,000
  8. Milford will benefit from the enhance appearance of the new huts and the improved coastal protection they will provide.
  9. By securing the continuing income from license fees the Council will obtain a commercial rate of return to the benefit of taxpayers.
This may just be an elegant solution to a profoundly difficult problem?!

If you would like to share your thoughts, please click on the 'comments link' below.

18 comments:

  1. They should pay all of the costs, surely they have to have Insurance, as well do if we own a 'second home' regardless of it's size or location. You own it you insure it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those who had huts now demolished will pay the full rebuilding cost. The others were ecconomically repairable and owners will pay the assessed cost of repairs towards the sheme's expense.

      Delete
  2. The sea front without the beach huts looks so good why couldn't beach huts be built further along the beach at Hordle Cliff and leave this central area clear for everyone to enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hordle Cliff already has beach huts to its capacity - limited by being a 'Site of Special Scientific Interest.

      Delete
  3. The concrete beach huts between Needles Eye and the White House really need to be reviewed as part of the whole sea front location. If Milford is to be a serious tourist location then we should take this opportunity to consider how our sea front fits the bill. Consider promenade walkers and the view over the beach hut roofs, now consider this from the perspective of a 3' child or someone in a wheelchair or mobility car. Year round parking charges bring in revenue to NFDC; however, people are more likely to travel and pay parking (instead of blocking up our streets) if you had a decent attraction on the front (as well as an amazing location) - think about Christchurch's Quomps - £1.50 parking and 3hrs fun. Bournemouth BC invest in the sea front and make it work hard for them - a splash being constructed on the pier approach (water fountains by day and lighting after 7pm) and luxury beach huts being constructed that have been designed by award winning architects to name just 2 projects happening right now. Milford's beach huts are part of its beauty and history but that doesn't mean that the decision-making, design ideas and construction techniques of 40 years ago are appropriate today.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree with both the previous comments. Owners should pay for their own huts to be replaced, why should other pots of money be used for people to enjoy their own buildings?! Surely they are all insured being on the beach. I also think the view is so much better without them, they will only get blown again as that is our weather system now.so enjoy the beach with your towel and flask like everyone else!

    ReplyDelete
  5. The beach huts were here long before many residents arrived, and to us, they are part of Milford on Sea's character and charm.
    If people are fortunate enough to be able to afford them (We haven't got one), good luck to them.
    I hope that they, and everyone else that visit, enjoy their time at the seafront, and hopefully anyone coming from outside the village spends money locally, which is a great thing for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind and sensible comments; makes a nice change from the volley of nastiness levelled at beach hut owners.

      Delete
  6. Please take away all of these ugly beach sheds. Make the prom, fit for purpose and an attractive sight seeing opportunity. Owners should pay to replace beach huts with an agreed design if this is the plan.
    A more modern look that will stand another 40 years needs to be considered. Please no silly funfairs or water shoots!

    ReplyDelete
  7. At last the NFDC seems to be pedalling fast to catch up with where they should have been on 15th February. They missed the chance then to completely demolish ALL of the concrete huts immediately on grounds of safety - thus clearing the eyesore from the Milford Promenade once and for all. We all know they did not have the 'balls' to do this and have been left with a mess that is likely to cost me and other New Forest Council Tax payers dearly for a long time to come. The fact that some people were prepared to spend silly amounts of money on ugly concrete sheds should not be reason for the Council to be forced to spend our money on their subsidised re-instatement. The owners of these huts should have had sufficient insurance cover and they should be presented with a bill for the total cost of removing them, and all the remedial works carried out thus far. If they did not have insurance then they should be prepared to accept the consequences and pay up. Milford would have a much more appealing promenade without these monstrosities and the public could then have full access to the sea shore, without having to struggle past the hut owners who take up all the space of the 'shelf' in front of the huts claiming it is their property - which it is not.
    The decrease in licence fee income to the Council would pale into insignificance compared to the costs of keeping a few hut owners happy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are obviously in favour of state theft. These huts were purchased by people and for some it represents their life savings and particularly for the elderly owners are the only pleasure they enjoy. Taking them away without compensation is theft. It is also a very unchristian act to use a storm as an excuse to take that property away. If you really want them moved then suggest to the Parish Council that they increase their precept to buy all the huts at a cost of just over £2m and then demolish them all! See what the residents would think of that.
      There are a number of properties in and around Milford which are also an eye sore and many, like the new flats in Hurst Road and the many blocks of flats towards Barton are totally out of keeping with an historic seashore village like Milford. So can we suggest that as I, and many others, don't like them that they too are demolished if a slate falls out of place. Of course we won't because we are fair minded and realsise that beauty and benefit is in the eye of the beholder and we should stop interfering with the enjoyment of others.
      But taking your thoughts about the needs of Milford what about constructing desperately needed cycle paths in Milford.
      You would obviously agree with the Council coming along and taking, without paying, £20,000 worth of the frontage of properties to create this new essentilal facility for the villagers? Of course you wouldn't because there would be a near riot by the owners of those properties and I would agree with you. So why do you want to treat owners of beach huts, who have tried to get the Council to let them repair them ever since the storms, differently. Beach hut owners have only agreed with the Council's current proposals because they do bring added benefits to Milford both in terms of the appearance of the huts and the improved sea defences that will come with the scheme which will help protect those new flats in Hurst Road. Some of us owners are indeed insured and would happily pay for the repair costs but we are trying to be reasonable neighbours and help the Council also improve the village and if the Council believes that can be best achieved with the current scheme then we will go with it.

      Delete
  8. I expect that the NFDC will defer any decision again - they are just to frightened of upsetting a few people who have these huts which are, frankly a blot on the landscape (and seascape) and were so for a long time before February 2014

    ReplyDelete
  9. The NFDC has dug a hole for itself, the Councils structural engineer should have put dangerous structure notices on those huts not fit for purpose. They are private property and the Council has no responsibility regarding these properties, you don't own a house without insurance, drive a car etc. So why own a sea side hut without insurance. The storm was an act of God? and the damage was not of the Councils making. They have to prove why they are picking up some of the bill for private owned property. There responsibility is to provide a safe environment, maintain the sea defences and fore shore only? Barton on Sea lost a public shelter on the cliff, NFDC have said they are not replacing it who made that decision? Milton Town Council are saying that the loss can be filled from those who wish to provide a seat in remembrance. The comment saying it is state theft if they are taken away, so on this occasion Health and Safety does not come into the equation. I don't know what the beef is regarding the properties on the cliff they are nothing to do with the Village. The insurance company that each hut owner insures the property with, the owner would have had a report from them in assessing the condition and agreed a settlement. ( I assume? that those in favour of the NFDC contribution to Private owners do not have insurance) Instead the council tax payers seem to be picking up part of the bill on this occasion. I am sure the District Auditor would be interested in the use of public money being used in this way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course Health and Safety rules apply. But you can't just say a building is a dangerous structure if it isn't. Beach Hut owners are very happy to repair their huts. There have been three reports from professionally qualified firms that say that the huts are repairable and if allowed the owners will repair them.

      Delete
    2. In response to the reply 12 August 2014, the problem today is that nearly everybody expects public money to be spent on there pet projects. Sorry this is just a vote catcher by the Council, being nice to people. Public money should be spent to support all of society and not to prop up a project. The problem with this is they do not no what the final cost will be? Because in most cases it would be cheaper to pull down the lot and rebuild. Also if they have a protracted tender process, then the next storm or storms may cause even more damage. You might not have any structures to save. Remember it is not the Councils fault if the whole lot drops into the sea.

      Delete
  10. This subject certainly brings out the best in human nature, doesn't it?! May I suggest a little exercise in empathy for those who are so anxious to see other people's property destroyed in order to improve the views from properties which have only relatively recently been built and purchased for 'silly money' to coin a phrase. Imagine your mother has lived in Milford for over 50 years, brought up a family enjoying their summers at the beach hut instead of on the Costa Paket. She was widowed ten years ago but still has children and grandchildren who love to spend time with her at the beach hut. She probably has another five or so years to live. Is she one of the selfish ogres who are stealing money from the tax payer or is she content to go on paying her annual charges to NFDC together with the inevitable maintenance costs which reimburse local labour? I suggest that any one who suggests confiscation of this lady's private property should be regarded in the same light as a mugger or burglar.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I find the sheer venom in some of the comments directed against we beach hut owners very upsetting.
    I bought my hut after losing my husband in 2011. I would come to Milford for solace after spending time with him at Oakhaven; it became a place of peace and sanctuary for me, with none of the tack and brashness of some seaside villages. My hut is so precious to me - I could never afford to live in the village so this is my little bit of Milford Heaven, and I have invested in its refurbishment and upkeep. Money became very tight for me last year and it was a case of insuring my house or my hut (the hut being more expensive!) The house won, what then happened you know. Some people seek to turn a disaster for me and my fellow hut owners - most of whom, I think, are also villagers - into an opportunity to remove them altogether, for a better view. Perhaps this is what sticks in their craw; that the huts are 'front-line'? I understand that new huts would be designed to be more aesthetically pleasing, that we will be contributing a goodly amount for the rebuild, that much of the Council's outlay will be in strengthening and improving the promenade. We are so lucky to live in this beautiful area, can we please enjoy it together, in our own different ways, whilst being tolerant and respectful of others?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Refer 8th August 2014
    The lady above has scored a home goal, by stating she did not insure her property i.e. the beach hut by saying it cost far more to insure her home than insuring her beach hut. How many more did not insure there beach hut ?

    ReplyDelete