Calls to consider 21st century hut

A FELIXSTOWE designer is urging community leaders to take a fresh look at her ideas for vandal-proof beach huts after arsonists destroyed more chalets at the resort.

A FELIXSTOWE designer is urging community leaders to take a fresh look at her ideas for vandal-proof beach huts after arsonists destroyed more chalets at the resort.

Every summer the wooden chalets are targeted by fire-raisers and last week two were burnt down at Brackenbury and two others left badly damaged.

But Jill Thomas, director of The Little Hut Company, said the incidents could be avoided - if Suffolk Coastal council would allow chalets to be made of materials other than wood.

She has proposed allowing people to replace their huts with a Glass Reinforced Polyester (GRP) hut which she has designed.

“The huts are fire-resistant, rodent-proof, vandal-proof and - because of its method of manufacture - would have needed no annual maintenance or decoration. This hut was to be made in Suffolk, and it had enormous export potential,” she said.

“I made a prototype of the beach hut and after much negotiation with Suffolk Coastal placed the prototype on the beach.

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“The erection of the beach hut drew its own appreciative audience, including other beach hut owners, and the completed beach hut drew 48 interested inquiries on its first day.”

However, council officials did not think the huts would look good in Felixstowe and were worried about the materials to be used.

They also doubted claims that the huts would be maintenance free and resistant to damage and said no the attempt to bring the huts into the 21st century.

“Timber beach huts will always be vulnerable, not only to vandalism but to the extreme weather conditions of the east coast,” said Mrs Thomas.

“If a GRP replacement were available on the market at least the replaced huts could have a better chance of surviving various attacks.”

She is hoping the council will look again at the idea of the GRP huts, especially as changes to huts is one of the issues under discussion in the masterplan being drawn up for the seafront for the Felixstowe and Trimley Futures Group.

The huts destroyed near the junction of Cliff Road and Golf Road.were burnt out around 1am last Tuesday . Anyone with information about the arson is asked to call Pc Guy Woodward at Felixstowe police on 01473 613500.

Do you think plastic beach huts should be allowed on Felixstowe seafront? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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