List of 18 rejected proposals to save Felixstowe beach huts revealed
- Credit: LDRS
The full list of the rejected options proposed to save all of Felixstowe's promenade beach huts has been revealed.
The row began when East Suffolk Council secured new locations for 30 of the 44 huts, by the Spa Pavilion.
Hut owners campaigned for all 44 to be saved, but the council terminated all 44 licences before a planning committee meeting to find new locations had been determined.
It is not yet clear if mediation will happen.
Now a Freedom of Information request by the Local Democracy Reporting Service show what requests to date were rejected and why.
This list includes:
Creating a new sand platform – not enough beach material and danger of tide undermining platform
Leaving huts on the prom – access fears for visitors and designated a highway
Rebuilding beach in four bays each year (£50,000 per year cost) – not considered long term and fluctuating beach levels
Creation of second and third rows at Clifflands – costs would exceed £600,000
Second row of Golf Road huts (18 huts) – rejected by planning committee
Moving 15 huts to Sea Road car park – loss of public facility
Moving 20 huts to events space – loss of public facility
Moving 10 huts to Greenways between pram walk and Spa land – £250,000 cost and loss of public open space
Moving all huts to green space in front of Bath Tap chalets – loss of public open space and impact on chalet users
Creating four timber platforms – £500,000 cost, concerns over longevity and position not being suitable for hut owners
Moving all huts to Spa gardens in Sea Road – rejected by hut owners
Moving 20 huts to beach stretch near Bent Hill – impact on residential amenity and ongoing beach level issues
Moving all huts to open space at Clifflands – impact on residential amenity and contrary to local planning policy
Moving all huts to beach at Pier South – beach level issues and contrary to local planning policy
Creating 16 new locations near Martello Park – planning rejected
Creating new wall from demountable concrete blocks – planning granted for trial but beach levels too low to continue
Extension to groins or dredged replenishment – £2.5m+ cost and uncertainty of beach levels, not in council’s control, next refresh not due until 2028
Niches in prom wall to facilitate 20 huts – unknown cost and loss of amenity open space
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The association said it was aware of some of the options but not all of them.
Nick Billingham, consultant with Devonshires Solicitors representing the association, said: “It is clear that the council are not seriously interested in mediation. We have offered it, but they have insisted on completely unreasonable conditions before they’ll even consider it.
“Someone appears very determined to prove a political point, rather than being sensible and trying to find a solution – all at the expense of Felixstowe taxpayers.
“A solution is not hard to find: the council has already found 30 alternative sites and only another 14 sites are needed. That is not beyond the wit of man, or East Suffolk Council. Is it really in the Council’s interests to go to trial over that?”
The council said that there was “no other viable alternative” to removing the huts from the promenade, as the location was only ever meant to be a temporary solution and was causing “considerable disruption” to visitors.
Huts are placed there in the winter months, and have been since 1945, the association said.
An East Suffolk Council spokesman said: “We have invested time and effort into developing and exploring alternative options since it became apparent that our response to the loss of beach material in the area needed to extend beyond moving of the beach huts on and off the promenade.
“During the intervening time, we have met and corresponded with the Felixstowe Beach Hut and Chalet Association, and have taken into consideration the impact of all possible outcomes upon beach hut owners.
“However, it is only right that we consider other emerging issues, such as safety and the needs of other sections of the community, who have expressed concerns about the current situation and the impact on their use and enjoyment of the promenade.
“There is no safe option for their return to the beach, and the temporary solution, which impacts on other users of the promenade, is not a viable permanent option.”
A petition by campaigners has been referred to the authority’s next full council meeting on May 25, where the matter will be debated.