After unleashing a wide ranging furore over its proposed rent hikes for beach huts in Felixstowe, Suffolk Coastal District Council decided not to implement the recommendations within the report which related to charging and licensing and instead, it launched a six-week consultation on the issue, to get ‘a clearer picture of the public’s opinions’ (Ed!)
This consultation ended on Friday, 17 February 2017 with well over 700 responses being received. The responses will now be analysed and the information used to help formulate a new report on this issue, with proposals for the way forward.
“We would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our questions. Over 700 responses were received and these will now be processed and analysed in detail. The responses will feed into a new report to Cabinet later in the year, which of course will be published and debated in the public domain as part of the democratic process,” said Cllr TJ Haworth-Culf, Suffolk Coastal’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Customers, Communities and Leisure.
“The beach hut service is just one of many being reviewed by the Council. As an organisation, we are faced with on-going reduction in support from central Government and are seeking to protect the local council tax payer, by getting making sure we maximise the contribution we get from our publicly owned assets and the services we offer.”
“At this stage, no decisions have been taken on how the beach hut service will be managed, or what charges will be levied, in the future. The responses to this consultation will be invaluable in assisting Suffolk Coastal to shape the future of this service and make decisions on this issue.”
Because the consultation period covered the time when existing beach hut owners would normally be asked if they wanted a licence for the coming financial year, the decision was also taken to issue an annual licence for a further year (2017/18), with the charges increasing by the same rate as the Council Tax for Suffolk Coastal (3.25%), while the longer term future of the service is properly debated.