December 9 2013 Latest news:
Alan Sarfas and Barbara Grace are angry about rising charges for their beach hut in Felixstowe. They are going to cut 18 inches off to reduce the cost. L-R Alfred Buck, Roberta Hicks, Barbara Grace, Alan Sarfas.
BY RICHARD CORNWELL, Felixstowe editor
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
A COUPLE furious at a 12% beach hut rent rise are today preparing to take the saw into their own hands – to cut their bill.
Barbara Grace and her partner Alan Sarfas are going to saw 18 inches off their hut as a protest against Suffolk Coastal council, so that their bill will not be so big this year.
Ms Grace, whose hut Idle Hours is at The Dip, Old Felixstowe, said the pair were disgusted at the rent rise.
She said: “The rent has gone up leaps and bounds in the past ten years but this latest rise is just obscene.
“Many of the hut owners are elderly and wouldn’t know how to complain and also would be too scared to do so.
“It is making it very difficult for ordinary people to afford a hut.”
The couple are among a growing group of hut owners who are furious at councillors for imposing such a huge hike in ground rents. Chalet tenants face a 20% increase.
Ms Grace said: “The council says hut owners pay around £300 and so will pay £36 more, but this is only part of the truth.
“Owners have to pay extra for their huts depending on how big they are.
“They start at a base rate of £300 and then size really matters – ranging from £600 to almost £800, as is the case with mine and many others.
“If we saw 18 inches off our hut it will certainly make it cheaper.”
Geoff Holdcroft, cabinet member for economic development and leisure, said councillors knew it would be an unpopular decision to raise hut and chalet prices but felt they were still good value for money.
He said: “We are in tough financial times and need to generate enough income to ensure that we can still provide our free services such as our public toilets and rubbish collection and street cleansing that visitors to our tourist attractions such as Felixstowe are receiving.”