Felixstowe beach hut owners angry over rent increases

Felixstowe beach huts
Image caption Felixstowe has about a thousand beach huts on its seafront

Beach hut owners in Felixstowe say they are angry over rent rises of up to 20% and will form an association to fight the move.

Suffolk Coastal District Council voted to increase rents up to £800 depending on the size of a hut or chalet.

Owners said it is well above the rate of inflation and did not compare favourably to other seaside resorts.

The council said it was providing a commercial service and rents helped fund other services.

Barbara Grace, whose rent will go up from £630 to £790 in April, said: "We're being ripped-off and I've gone beyond furious.

"No other seaside town seems to charge so much - particularly to residents.

'Fair charge'

"We need to form a beach hut owners' association to give ourselves a voice, try and fight this year's increase and stop any further increases."

Ms Grace claimed other seaside towns charge residents half the cost of non-residents.

She said she may reduce the size of her hut, so that she is charged less.

The council charges rent for about a thousand plots in Felixstowe and tenants then build their own huts there.

It has voted to increase the rent for the 900 huts by 12% and 80 chalets by 20%.

Ray Herring, Conservative leader of the council, said: "This is a commercial service and it is based on delivering a fair charge, but also acts in the interests of council taxpayers when local authority budgets are under pressure.

"We have already made a decision about the rates for 2013-14 and the invoices will go out soon.

"However, for the future it will be useful to have a beach hut owners association to work with."

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