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:
- All huts should be demolished and the lower promenade (on which they stand) removed
- A more resilient line of slabs should be cast to form a new lower promenade and to provide enhanced coastal defences
- New huts should be built in reinforced concrete
- Existing hut owners will be invited to join the scheme and pay part of the new huts’ cost
- 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.)
- 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.
- Owners’ contributions will cover most of the rebuild cost and in total will be £516,000
- Milford will benefit from the enhance appearance of the new huts and the improved coastal protection they will provide.
- By securing the continuing income from license fees the Council will obtain a commercial rate of return to the benefit of taxpayers.
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