Search

End of the road for Manor End

PUBLISHED: 18:37 23 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:42 03 March 2010

FIFTEEN years of fighting has finally ended in failure for beach hut owners, as the site families have enjoyed for more than half a century is to be taken away.

FIFTEEN years of fighting has finally ended in failure for beach hut owners, as the site families have enjoyed for more than half a century is to be taken away.

Felixstowe's Manor End used to be home to 1,000 wooden chalets, a thriving beachside village where working class people unable to afford posh holidays abroad had their own piece of seaside, with sand, sea and sunshine.

The majority were evicted in the late 1980s after an angry battle against plans to develop the 17-acre site, known as the resort's south seafront, despite the intervention of MPs, protests, public meetings and letter-writing campaigns.

Just two rows of 60 huts were allowed to stay, while the council's plans never took off and the land on which the 900 huts had stood sat derelict.

Now the rest of the huts are set to go, too – with Suffolk Coastal announcing today that site licenses will not be renewed when they expire on March 31.

Jim Butters, former chairman of the now-defunct Beach Hut Owners' Association, said: "I am very bitter about this. We have had our huts at Manor End for more than 70 years, the site is still well-used and popular – the last few weekends of good weather it has been like a holiday down there.

"Our huts are in front of the sea wall so nothing can be built there. I think the only reason they are shifting us is for the benefit of the new houses – to create for them an unspoiled sea view."

Mr Butters, 89, of Ipswich, is taking legal advice and also seeing his MP.

Suffolk Coastal has written to the 58 beach hut owners involved to say their sites are needed for the tourist attraction and homes development by Bloor Homes and clarify some of the uncertainty.

David Smith, cabinet member for the project, said: "It cannot be overlooked by anyone that losing a site which may have fond memories stretching back many years must be very disappointing for those affected.

"We have tried to give as much advance notice as possible, and the redevelopment of this site has been a goal for many years, so I do not think anyone can be surprised that it may now become a reality.

"The proposals for the south seafront give a major boost to resort regeneration aspirations for Felixstowe providing a flagship leisure scheme with recreational attractions that will be a hit with people of all ages. Regrettably, this big leap forward cannot be achieved without the loss of the beach huts."

Council staff will help owners find new sites, but there will be disappointment as there are currently very few vacant sites in Felixstowe, and people living in Suffolk Coastal will have priority.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists