Hut supporters continue to rally
SUPPORT for Felixstowe beach hut owners' battle against eviction is growing by the day.More than 150 people have signed the petition urging councillors to think again, an action group is being formed, and a meeting has been held with Ipswich MP Chris Mole.
By Richard Cornwell
SUPPORT for Felixstowe beach hut owners' battle against eviction is growing by the day.
More than 150 people have signed the petition urging councillors to think again, an action group is being formed, and a meeting has been held with Ipswich MP Chris Mole.
"The support we have been receiving has come from far and wide," said Jim Butters, leader of the campaign to save the 58 huts at Manor End.
"We have been overwhelmed. People have been brilliant – sending us letters outlining why they agree with us, signing the petition, and giving us advice on how to fight the council.
"We just hope that at the end of the day the council will see how much what they are doing is against public opinion, what a mistake it will be for Felixstowe, and will think again."
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Suffolk Coastal council has told the hut owners – whose campaign is being backed by the Evening Star – they must leave the site opposite Manor Terrace because it is needed for the multi-million pound south seafront development.
The 17-acre scheme will feature 188 houses and some leisure facilities – play areas, a wooden galleon, ampitheatre and café – and the hut site on the seaward-side of the sea defences is needed for coastal grasses.
Campaigners though believe the real reason for evicting the huts from the land, which cannot be built on, is to provide unspoilt seaviews for the new homes.
Mr Butters met Mr Mole and Ipswich councillor John Mowles.
"They were very supportive and it was a very positive meeting. I gave them all the cuttings and documents and they have promised to investigate and see what they can do to help," he said.
As well as petition forms, the Star has also received a number of letters pleading for the huts to be kept.
One former hut owner asked why the council wants to get rid of the chalets which currently bring income, and replace them with gardens which will need money spent to maintain them.
Eight-year-old Hannah Pugh, whose grandmother is one of the hut owners, wrote: "I am very sad. My brother Daniel and I have been going down to my nan's hut since we were babies.
"She bought the hut so she could take us down there as we like to play on the beach and go swimming. It means a lot to us."
Basil Double, 82, and his wife Cybil, 79, of Gleneagles Drive, Ipswich, have had a hut in Felixstowe since 1936.
"We do not know what we are going to do when we have to say goodbye to it. Already this year we have been down here 121 times and it is such a lovely place to be," said Mr Double.
The council says the development will be a flagship tourist attraction to regenerate the resort.