Third of Boscombe's Hemingway beach pods still unsold

Overstrand building at Boscombe
Image caption Wayne Hemmingway designed the beach pods in the 1950s Overstrand building

A third of the beach pods put up for sale on Boscombe's seafront remain unsold nearly five years on.

Bournemouth Borough Council put 43 of the 60 units in the Overstrand building up for sale in 2009, with 40-year leases priced at £64,995 and £89,995.

Within days of the launch, 14 of the Wayne Hemingway-designed pods were snapped up, earning the authority £1m.

Despite introducing 10-year lease options in 2011, at £17,995, the council said 15 pods were still unsold.

The authority is now looking at other ways of using the empty pods, such as hosting spa treatments and exhibitions.

Mr Hemingway said: "We designed them not for sale, it was 50% for sale, 50% for rent, and there was quite a furore at the time - people were saying, make sure they're not all sold.

"Part of the reason we went into this was the fact that they were going to be rental beach huts."

Image caption The council has sold 24 pods and four are under offer

'Massive interest'

Seafront development manager Chris Saunders said the initial idea had been to sell 50% of the pods, but a high level of interest meant, by the time they were launched, the council's strategy had changed.

He said: "We were getting massive interest but the recession bit and that didn't convert, hence coming up with something a bit more flexible with the lease lengths."

Sales have so far generated £1.2m, while the unsold units and 17 that were retained by the council continue to be rented out.

When the Overstrand, which overlooks Boscombe's cordoned-off surf reef, was launched May 2009, the leases equated to an annual rent of £1,625 for a single pod and £2,250 for a double.

The shorter 10-year leases equate to £1,800 a year for a single.

The 1950s beach chalet complex had been derelict for 15 years before it was revamped as part of Boscombe seafront's redevelopment programme.

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