Fury at beach hut price hike

FURIOUS beach hut owners were today reeling from a 15 per cent hike in rents and warned tourism chiefs that they were driving visitors away from Felixstowe.

FURIOUS beach hut owners were today reeling from a 15 per cent hike in rents and warned tourism chiefs that they were driving visitors away from Felixstowe.

"All we get for our £350 a year is a tiny plot of land and a water tap - it's outrageous," fumed hut owner Basil Double.

"People just won't bother in future and the number of hut owners, the regular visitors to Felixstowe, will stay away. People won't pay that sort of money."

Suffolk Coastal council is increasing many of its charges substantially this year in order to bring in more income and keep the council tax down. It is aiming for a rise of 4.9pc.


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The resort's 1,000 hut owners - from Clifflands to the Manor Club - will see increases in their site rents of 15pc and 12pc, generating around £230,000 for the council's coffers.

Rents for the permanent chalets will also increase by 10pc, except the 24 below Cliff House which will see a five pc rise.

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For the owners of the wooden huts, the rent - which includes business rates and VAT - for their sites will vary depending where their "shally" is situated.

But some will be paying as much as £383 on the beach outside the Spa Pavilion for a basic sized hut or £451 for a larger one, or up to £377 at the West End for larger huts.

Owners at Manor End have formed a committee to campaign for a smaller increase.

Committee member Mr Double, 83, of Gleneagles Drive, Ipswich, said: "We were thrilled when the council agreed, after the Evening Star's campaign, that our huts could stay here - but now they are making us pay these huge rents for the privilege.

"All we get is a water tap. The kids mess about in the toilets, the prom is never swept of shingle. It's been a lovely little community down here for many years but I don't know how some people will be able to afford this rise."

Mr Double and his wife Sybil make around 130 trips each summer to their beach hut, which they have owned for 40 years and built themselves.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Coastal said: "The council is having to take tough decisions in order to keep its council tax low and has had to review all its sources of income, including beach hut fees.

"The proposed increase is, in our judgement, the current market value of these facilities bearing in mind demand."

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