After the furore that greeted SCDC’s proposals to change some of the ground rules for Beach Hut ownership including hiking up rents, they are now asking for the public’s views on how you think beach hut services should be run in the district.
The six-week consultation, running until 17 February 2017, asks the public to consider the recommendations to convert all the current beach hut site licences into longer term leases and the proposed charges.
This follows a decision in December’s Cabinet meeting, which met to consider the review of the beach hut service to identify any service efficiencies and to consider further income generation opportunities, but in the end had to respond to a mass protest by owners, local councillors and others.
The original review was launched in support of the current East Suffolk Business Plan, which contains a specific action to ‘Increase the number of beach huts provided in the District by at least 10%’. This is obviously a laudable aim – but not at the expense of those who already enjoy their ‘little get away by the sea’.
More importantly for SCDC is a perceived opportunity to maximise the income generated from this resource. Whether they intend investing it in core services in Felixstowe as they insist they will remains to be seen – as in the past income from things like the sale of the south sea front land to Bloor Homes by their own admission has gone into a general pot for the whole district.
Cllr TJ Haworth-Culf, Cabinet Member for Customers, Communities and Leisure, said: “This is a district wide consultation and we want to hear from all residents – as the decision on this issue could impact upon everyone living in Suffolk Coastal.
“We do have some difficult decisions to make as a council due to the steep decline in financial support from central Government. With a predicted funding gap of £3.5million, we need to increase the amount of income we generate in order to maintain our core services, while protecting the local tax payer.
“Beach huts are important to our seaside communities, however, we remain committed to ensuring we achieve value for money for all Suffolk Coastal residents and therefore value feedback from everyone on this issue.”
Following the results of the consultation, a revised report will be brought to Cabinet to consider.
Beach hut owners will be sent a paper copy of the consultation and a free return envelope to return their responses.
You can have your say at: www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/features/have-your-say-on-beach-huts
All responses need to be completed and returned by 5pm on Friday 17 February 2017.
If you would like support completing your responses, you can call or visit our Customer Service Centres in Woodbridge and Felixstowe.
To contact our Customer Services team, call: 01394 383789