May 21 2013 Latest news:
BY RICHARD CORNWELL, Felixstowe editor
Thursday, February 21, 2013
BEACH hut owners and chalet tenants are to hold a public meeting next week to protest over huge rent rises being imposed this spring.
Organisers are hoping as many owners and tenants as possible will attend – and will be putting to the meeting a proposal for people to ignore Suffolk Coastal’s demand and pay an increase only equal to the rate of inflation.
The meeting is taking place at Cotman Hall, which is at the rear of Mrs Simpson’s Tea Rooms, Undercliff Road East, Felixstowe, on Tuesday, February 26, at 11am.
Organiser Julie Downton, of East Bergholt, whose family has a hut in Undercliff Road East, said: “We have got to make a stand and let the council know what we think and that we are not prepared to take this wholly unreasonable rise in rents.
“No-one has yet explained to us why we should pay this increase – we hear it is to pay for services which you would expect to receive anyway. All we get for our rent is the land on which the hut stands.”
Suffolk Coastal cabinet member for economic development and leisure, Geoff Holdcroft, is being invited to attend and answer questions.
Mrs Downton said she would put forward a proposal for the beach hut and chalet community to refuse to accept the rent rises – 12% for huts and 20% for chalets – and pay only 2.5%.
The increases have provoked outrage and one couple, Barbara Grace and partner Alan Sarfas, are planning to saw 18 inches off their hut to reduce the rent as the bill is based on the size of each hut.
The council said hut and chalet prices were still good value for money and the authority needed to generate enough income to ensure it could still provide free services such as public toilets, rubbish collection and street cleansing visitors to Felixstowe enjoyed.