It’s Spring – and that usually means in Felixstowe that it signals the Beach Huts getting moved back onto the sand from their winter quarters on the prom. But 55 huts near the Spa Pavilion look to be stuck for the third year running after East Suffolk Council abandoned their latest plan to create concrete platforms on the beach on which to re position them.
And this ongoing problem does not look like it’s going to be solved anytime soon – with the beach levels having dropped dramatically after Storm Darcy earlier this year.
The Council has released a statement in which they state:
This is a continuing trend over recent years and has meant that a proposed pilot scheme of installing concrete platforms on which to position the displaced beach huts, would be easily undermined, despite their substantial nature. There is also not enough beach material in the area for the depth required to insert the platforms, nor create a control sand platform.
As a result, it has become apparent that the response to the loss of beach material in this area needs to extend beyond the moving of the beach huts on and off the Promenade and that all options need to be explored to provide a holistic solution to protect the beach as an amenity resource. It has therefore been decided that the pilot scheme will not be going ahead following discussions between Coastal Management and Senior Council Officers.
Kerry Blair, Head of Operations at East Suffolk Council, said: “It has become evident during recent storms, that it will not be feasible to go ahead with the proposed pilot scheme as the amount of beach material this would require, would limit the area available to other beach users severely. Whist this is not the outcome we hoped for, we appreciate that this came to light before work started on the pilot scheme and we will now reassess the situation and explore other options which will enable us to maintain an amenity beach in the long-term.”
There are no simple solutions to the situation and options will depend on various factors and parties, including the Environment Agency and Crown Estates. East Suffolk Council does not own the land beyond the low tide mark so possible solutions, such as beach replenishment and/or alterations/extensions to groins would be dependent on their support and priorities.
Until a solution has been found, the beach huts will remain in their current location on the Promenade, although this is not a long-term option.
And that’s it in nutshell – it’s not a long term option to allow the huts to remain on the prom as it cuts down the space for people to exercise, and during the pandemic has meant it has been challenging to maintain social distancing. But these are not the only problems. Events like Art on the Prom and the Classic Car Rally need the space – and i am sure the beach hut owners would rather be on the beach too.
The only answer seems to be relocation to an entirely different site – although that may not be popular with owners but one where they might not have a choice. Maybe space could be found where the new Beach Hut village by the Leisure Centre has been proposed.
Let’s hope a solution is found soon.