Devon

Council attacked over £2.35m beach hut spend

Beach huts at Meadfoot
Image caption Beach huts at Meadfoot cost more than £2,500-a-year to rent

A council has been criticised for spending four times more on beach huts than it did on affordable housing in three years.

Conservative-led Torbay Council in Devon spent £2.35m on beach huts in 2013-2015, renting some for £2,500-a-year. It spent £470,000 on affordable housing during the same period.

Liberal Democrat Steve Darling said the council had its priorities wrong.

The council's housing chief said huts brought in "much-needed revenue".

Image caption Liberal Democrat leader Steve Darling says Conservatives have put the seafront ahead of affordable housing

There is a waiting list for seasonal huts at all council-run sites in Torbay.

The unitary authority redeveloped beach huts at Broadsands and Meadfoot - some of which now are now rented out at more than £2,500-a-year.

In an email to council elected mayor Gordon Oliver, Mr Darling, leader of the council's Lib Dem group, said he found it "quite shocking" that, in 2014 alone, Torbay Council spent £1.7m on beach huts "and nothing on the development of affordable housing in Torbay".

He also said the council put the seafront ahead of affordable housing.

Mark King, the councillor in charge of housing, said the council was "fully committed" to affordable housing.

He said: "The beach hut scheme is a capital investment and that will bring in much-needed revenue."

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