Bexhill owners’ ‘upset’ over rise in beach hut licence fees

Bexhill beach huts. SUS-160927-135117001
Bexhill beach huts. SUS-160927-135117001

Beach hut owners in Bexhill are upset over plans by Roither District Council to increase the licence fees next year.

One owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said the rise will impact on many elderly owners, who may not be able to afford the hike.

She said: “I’ve owned a beach hut for seven years and the fees are going up by more than £100 in the new year.

“We pay £396 a year but this will increase to £500.

“We don’t get anything for this, except the pebbles the huts are on.

“Several beach huts have been vandalised recently as well.

“A lot of people along where we live are very, very upset over the news. Many owners of these beach huts are quite elderly and may not be able to afford the increased charge.”

The council said the rise was necessary because of increased costs to the authority.

The council also has had to rein in on spending on many of its services, the authority said.

A Rother District Council spokesman said: “As a non-statutory service the cost of providing site licences for beach huts must be covered by those using the service and not be subsidised by the taxpayer.

“The charge of £500 for 2017/18 was agreed by Rother District Council’s Cabinet in February 2016 and covers the increase in costs to the council, taking into account the significant increase in non-domestic rates, which is considered when setting the licence fee.

“The cost of beach hut site licences in Rother remains one of the lowest in the south east.”

In February, the first increase in Rother’s council tax for six years was backed by the authority’s cabinet.

Members voted in favour of the 1.94 per cent rise in line with the officer’s recommendation in order to generate an extra £115,000.

The executive director of resources Malcolm Johnston recommended council tax for the average band D property be set at £164.32 and the 2016/17 budget be £11.86m.

At the time, the council’s cabinet member for finance, resources and value for money, Lord Ampthill said that the council was facing some ‘very difficult financial decisions’.

He also said the authority was facing a ‘continued funding squeeze’.

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