Felixstowe beach huts may require relocation due to erosion caused by bad weather

The erosion at Felixstowe beach. Picture: SUFFOLK COASTAL DISTRICT COUNCIL

The erosion at Felixstowe beach. Picture: SUFFOLK COASTAL DISTRICT COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Beach hut owners today face the prospect of having to move their beloved bolt-holes from an area of seafront declared unsafe due to erosion – or pay for the relocation by council workers.

Owners of beach huts in front of the Spa Pavilion building, in Felixstowe, received warnings on Friday to steer clear of the area, following severe and sudden erosion caused by recent adverse weather conditions.

The warning was also directed at other beach users, who were advised to keep away from the area between the sea and promenade.

Suffolk Coastal District Council said the beach may naturally rebuild in the coming weeks, and that officers would monitor the situation to assess what further action needed to be taken – but it could result in huts being temporarily moved to another location.

Julie Downton, secretary of the Felixstowe Beach Hut and Chalet Association, was embarking on a biannual voluntary beach clean yesterday.

She said: “On Friday, I received a call from Suffolk Coastal, warning me that letters were going out, advising hut owners that the beach was unsafe, and that they would be given the option to move their huts or leave it to the council – at a cost.

“They were given until May 31, before Suffolk Coastal contractors move in.

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“I’ve owned a beach hut for 30 years. In my experience, the beach is sometimes high and sometimes low. Even when they’re dredging out to sea, nature has a tendency to replenish.

“Whether it rights itself or not, I think there’s enough shingle on the beach to move around with a digger – but the council says it doesn’t have surplus materials to excavate.

“If the huts have to be moved for safety, we would like to see them put up on the promenade. If moved elsewhere, our concern is they might not be moved back.

“Owners were emailed on Friday, with no opportunity to respond over the weekend, and no indication of where their huts would be moved.”

Mrs Downton said the cost of relocation would be £128 for each affected beach hut owner.

Suffolk Coastal said the erosion had left a steep drop from the normal beach level to the sea.

On Friday, the council announced it had arranged for signs to be put up, warning people not to use the stretch of beach.