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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Beach Hut Design Moves Forward

The plans for the replacement Milford on Sea Beach Huts has taken as further step forward, and the recommended designs below will be considered by New Forest District Council’s cabinet on 7th October 2015.

The new contemporary designs and repositioning will no doubt please many, and disturb others. 

A little bird has suggested that some beach hut owners may be unhappy if their modest sized huts are made narrower in order to squeeze 119 huts into a smaller area. (Due to the removal of the block in front of the Needles Eye Cafe). On the other hand, the fabulous sea views in front of the Needles Eye Cafe will become unobstructed.

There will also be only two access points between the beach huts to the lower promenade, however, the news ones are not far apart, so it is debatable whether that is an issue.  

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

You can read the full NFDC press release below.

Council’s cabinet to consider Milford seafront designs
The outline design and layout of 119 replacement beach huts at Milford-on-Sea will be considered by New Forest District Council’s cabinet on 7 October. Recommendations have been made to cabinet by the Beach Hut Project Board, which is made up of council officers, representatives of Milford Parish Council and the New Forest Beach Hut Owners Association, and chaired by the council’s portfolio holder for the environment, Councillor Sophie Beeton. 

The proposals being put forward would see the rebuilt huts being set back into the upper promenade, enabling the lower promenade to be widened and reducing their exposure to the elements. The upper promenade would be extended out over the hut roofs, widening it and improving the views. This would also remove the hazardous gap which previously existed between the rear of the huts and the upper promenade. The privacy of the beach huts would be maintained by positioning a balustrade some way back from the edge of the extended upper promenade and the roofs of the beach huts would be thoroughly sound-proofed. A stainless steel wire balustrade is proposed to ensure views from local houses are preserved. 

The recommendations would see the beach huts clustered in three terraces, allowing all huts to be removed from the eastern, most exposed end of the lower promenade and increasing the uninterrupted sea views from the upper promenade around the Needles Eye café. They would be built in concrete with coloured wooden doors. A new curved access ramp would be developed for the western end of the site to improve access to the lower prom. Portfolio holder for the environment, Councillor Sophie Beeton said “I am pleased to recommend to cabinet what I believe to be an innovative design that will enhance Milford seafront. We have worked very hard with the design team to come up with a viable solution which takes account of the challenging coastal environment and the preferences of local residents and the beach hut license holders.” She continued, “I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who attended the public event on the design options and who gave us their views via the questionnaire.” 

Around 600 people attended a public event in Milford on 14 August where a number of design options were displayed. The public could also view the designs online and complete a questionnaire indicating their preferences. The council received 355 responses, of which 114 were beach hut license holders and almost 70% lived in Milford. The majority of respondents selected the inhabited roof design (with the beach huts set back into the upper promenade) as their favourite option for the form of the roofs. 

When asked about construction materials, most people favoured concrete with coloured doors. Respondents were asked to consider the design of a new access ramp at the western end of the promenade. The majority chose a curved ramp design around the existing pill box structure. All of these preferences are being recommended to cabinet. Most respondents preferred a layout in which the beach huts were arranged in four terraces starting at the eastern end of the promenade below the Needles Eye café, with larger gaps between the terraces. The beach hut board will not be recommending this option because beach huts located at the eastern end of the promenade would be at much greater risk of wave impact damage. Analysis of the Valentine’s Day storm of 2014, during which many of the old huts were severely damaged, confirmed that the wave forces hitting the beach huts at the eastern end were almost four times those hitting the huts at the western end. Cabinet will be asked to agree to the board’s recommendation to cluster the beach huts into three terraces further to the west. Priorities which emerged from respondents’ comments included a wish to see improved disabled access along the lower promenade, the need for safety measures on the upper promenade and soundproofing of the huts if the inhabited roofs option were developed. The design team will be working to address all these issues. 

If cabinet agree to the proposals on 7 October consultant engineers Ramboll UK Ltd and Snug Architects will develop detailed designs to be submitted as a planning application by the end of the year. There will be a formal consultation process as part of the planning application.

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