Beach hut battle continues

HOUSEHOLDERS campaigning against the siting of beach huts opposite their homes today vowed to continue their battle – despite approval for the chalets.

HOUSEHOLDERS campaigning against the siting of beach huts opposite their homes today vowed to continue their battle - despite approval for the chalets.

Residents claimed a small victory as councillors agreed to cut the number of huts by 25 per cent, and are still hoping none will actually be put in place.

The objectors are seeking advice of Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer and will be taking a case to the Ombudsman.

They have also submitted a claim for a public right of way through the hut site, and if they win at an inquiry it will mean the huts will have to be evicted.

Suffolk Coastal's south area development control sub committee approved the council's application for the huts at The Dip, Cliff Road, Old Felixstowe, after removing a row of seven at the boat park from the plan at the last minute.

The council had wanted 29 sites and will now be allowed 22.

Most Read

But residents want to know if the committee acted correctly in amending the plan twice, or whether a revised application should have been made.

They do not believe if it had been a private application for a housing development councillors would have simply removed a row of homes by scrubbing them off the plans during the meeting and then agreeing what was left.

Anita Gregory, of Cliff Road, said: “We are very concerned about the way this matter was handled.

“When we arrived at the committee meeting we were told the plans had been altered - they had not been altered the day before - and so we had no opportunity to see them properly or comment.

“We had spent two months discussing these plans and writing letters and then they change them as the meeting starts. Then the committee was on the verge of rejecting the whole scheme when it was decided it could amend the plans itself again there and then - we want to know if they were allowed to do that.”

Changes will now mean part of the cliff will be removed to site the huts to provide enough room in front of the chalets.

She added: “The aim of this scheme was to generate extra revenue and yet they seem to be spending public money - who knows how much - to do it,” she added.

John Hatcher, of Cliff Road, who spoke for the residents at the meeting, was “extremely disappointed” at the outcome.

He said: “I cannot understand how they can sit there and change plans which have been drawn up - would they sit there and alter other people's plans to suit what they wanted?”

Residents say the huts will be unsightly and block sea views; their use will create noise, litter which could attract vermin, and increase parking problems, restrict emergency access. They want to see gaps in hut rows filled first.

Planning officers said the council has a high demand for beach huts in Felixstowe and the sites were “an acceptable location”.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter