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Shattered peace

PUBLISHED: 21:22 25 May 2004 | UPDATED: 04:54 02 March 2010

FURIOUS beach hut owners today demanded to know why they were not given warning after their sunny, peaceful day relaxing by the sea was wrecked by noisy diggers.

FURIOUS beach hut owners today demanded to know why they were not given warning after their sunny, peaceful day relaxing by the sea was wrecked by noisy diggers.

Hut owners are already reeling - and campaigning - over a 15 per cent hike in rents and say having the use of their Felixstowe chalets ruined was like the council kicking sand in their faces.

"It's the first spell of nice weather we have had. We all came down for a nice relaxing day and to enjoy our huts and then these men turn up with diggers, churning up the beach and messing about with the groynes," said Brian Godbold, of Ipswich.

"It was absolutely outrageous. People are very unhappy about this. First of all they stick our rents up 15pc and then they make it impossible to use the huts with all this awful disruption and noise.

"It would have been common courtesy for the council to tell us that this work was going to take place and then we could have stayed away."

Mr Godbold and his wife Margaret were among several couples from Ipswich who travelled to Felixstowe to make the most of the good weather.

He had planned to sit outside his hut at Manor End and listen to the Test Match on the radio until the diggers turned up to carry out sea defence maintenance.

"That was impossible once these diggers started roaring around - it was so noisy no-one could hear a thing," said Mr Godbold.

He said the work had caused some disruption to the area and he had fallen over where he claimed a concrete area had been disturbed by the work.

A Suffolk Coastal council spokesman said the work taking place was to restore beach levels and would benefit the hut owners - protecting their chalets - and the whole area. Contractors were doing the work and they needed to take advantage of low tide and fine weather to do it.

"If it was major long-term work then the council would have made people aware. We are sorry for the inconvenience the work has caused but it is important that it is done," he said.

The 15pc rent increase has particularly angered hut owners this year with several warning that the cost is driving visitors away from Felixstowe and that people may give up their chalets.

Some pay as much as £383 at 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. All they get is the site and use of a water tap.

Suffolk Coastal council has increased many of charges substantially this year in order to bring in more income and keep the council tax down.

Is it worth having a beach hut on Felixstowe seafront these days - or are you paying out too much for too little in return? Write to Your Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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