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Decisions and actions following the destruction of the Milford on Sea Beach Huts has been painful slow, and the seafront continues to look unloved and forlorn.
It is now almost a year since the Valentine's storm, and we have heard that NFDC are now submitting an application for Outline Planning Permission to replace all of the huts between the 'Needles Eye' and the White House.
If the permission is granted demolition of the remaining huts will be undertaken, leaving the lower promenade clear for the summer of 2015.
We understand that the ugly metal mesh fencing will go, to be replaced by a lower barrier to protect the drop between upper and lower promenades. There might also have to be some type of barrier at the seaward edge of the lower promenade where there's also a drop. The lower promenade will remain in place until 2016 after the huts have been cleared. Then, next year it will be removed and a new slab put down and new huts built. The new slab and the new huts will give increased protection to the aged sea wall.
There will then be a design study and application for detailed Planning Permission to be sought later in 2015 followed by the construction of 119 new replacement huts in 2016. They will be of a similar size to the original 50 year old huts, but the design may alter within the same height and footprint. (It will take a genius to come up with a new radical design with the constraints in place!)
Owners of the huts will pay a considerable amount towards building the new replacement huts, and the NFDC will also be carrying out sea defence work to the slab on which the huts stand.
Things become a little more complicated should the Outline Planning Application be rejected, as the owners of the 80 or so huts still standing will be able to make repairs. In most cases the hut roofs would have to be replaced as they are of doubtful strength.
Should this be the outcome, those who had huts which were demolished will be free to pursue rebuilding after obtaining their permissions individually.
It is clear that many opinions exist as to what the future of the seafront should be, but everyone surely agrees that the storm has caused distress to many people, plus the way it currently looks is pretty depressing for locals and visitors alike. Whatever the outcome, it would be nicer if it come sooner!