Huts tower over Felixstowe's beach

MOST town's have high-rises that tower over the landscape - but Felixstowe's loom over the beach.

MOST town's have high-rises that tower over the landscape - but Felixstowe's loom over the beach.

For these are the resort's high-rise beach huts, now left dangling up to nine feet over the sand and shingle because of the dramatic erosion over the past two decades.

But their precarious position with the constant threat of the sea sweeping them away has not devalued them - and one has just sold for £17,000, the most ever for a hut at the resort.

Owners, though, do not know how many years they will be able to keep the chalets hanging over the East Beach in Undercliff Road East.

For safety reasons, they all have balconies, and most of the flights of steps have had to be extended. Some extended stairways still hover a foot or more from the sand.

Adrian Miller, who has owned his beach hut for 20 years, said the piles on the wooden frame on which it sits go down two metres into the beach.

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In the winter months, the huts are moved back onto the prom.

Mr Miller said: “When we first had this hut, it sat on the beach and you stepped straight out onto the sand - no steps, no balcony, just straight onto the shore.

“The beach then went 30 yards straight into the sea.

“Now we have these huge drops and big flights of steps and the high tide line comes right up to the bottom of the steps.

“Something needs to be done.”

Neighbour Basil Smith, of Western Avenue, said he could remember when the groynes next to the huts were covered by 18 inches of shingle. Now the concrete breakwaters stand three feet tall and the beach is being scoured from underneath them.

“If the council hadn't put the rocks next to the groynes, I don't think the huts would have lasted this last winter,” he said.

Mr Miller, of Ranelagh Road, Felixstowe, said despite the state of the beach, he had been offered £20,000 cash for his hut by a visitor from London last summer.

“I wouldn't sell - it's a part of our family history. My daughter grew up here, playing on the beach, and now she brings her daughter here - it means a lot to us and we love it here,” he said.

Suffolk Coastal is monitoring the coast in case further emergency action is needed.

Consultants have also been looking at the stretch to see what extra action might be taken coupled with beach replenishment.

What do you think of the state of the beach? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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