Rent rise fears driving beach hut owners at Felixstowe to sell up
PUBLISHED: 15:04 02 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:18 02 February 2017
Beach hut owners are flocking to sell their seaside idylls and are having to sell for thousands of pounds less than a year ago, it has been claimed.
Felixstowe Beach Hut and Chalet Association said it was aware of a number of people selling up because of worries over proposals to more than double rents.
Roy Gray, vice-chairman of the association, said: “One of the benefits of the changes, according to the council, was that it would increase the value of the huts.
“However, early indications are that the opposite is happening – owners are having to sell up for at least £7,000 less than they would normally get because new owners could be forced to pay a £7,000 premium just to obtain a lease.
“We have been made aware of a number of people who have decided to sell. People are worried and they are fed up. They have just had enough.”
Mr Gray said some of those who had decided to sell had owned huts for many years at Felixstowe, using them as a gathering place at the seaside for different generations of the family instead of having a holiday.
Felixstowe town and district councillor Doreen Savage said she had been made aware of people “flocking” to sell their huts.
She said: “People are absolutely terrified of what might happen. I can see us having a seafront of unwanted beach huts before very long if we are not careful.”
Suffolk Coastal District Council’s services are under intense pressure from cuts to Government grants and the authority wants to achieve a market rate for its hut sites.
Its proposals will see a 10% annual rent rise from next year, increasing annual income by £430,000 to £736,000, almost doubling rents within eight years.
One of the plans is to change the current annual licence to a 10-year lease to give owners more site security. At the end of their first lease, current owners would have to pay a £7,000 premium to secure the next one.
The council is also planning to increase the number of beach huts by 10% on new or existing sites and these could then be rented out between £718 and £1,105 a year.
It has also been suggested people might bid for the right for a lease – in Southwold this process saw people pay up to £120,000.
The council is carrying out consultation until February 17. People can take part online
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