A meeting of East Suffolk Council’s Planning Committee (south) on 7 March will consider an application for the relocation of beach huts which are temporarily housed on the promenade, close to the Felixstowe Spa Pavilion.
The huts, for which East Suffolk Council provides a site licence, were initially situated on the beach itself, however a combination of erosion and unpredictable conditions led to their temporary relocation for safety reasons.
For the past three years, and in regular consultation with beach hut owners, the Council has sought new locations and thoroughly explored all reasonable options, including beach platforms. However, it is now clear that there is no safe option for their return to the beach and the temporary solution, which impacts on other users of the promenade, is not a viable permanent option.
Therefore, the Council is to seek approval for a number of smaller, safer sites. The Planning Committee will now consider the applications and should consent be granted, huts will be moved to their new locations. However, should permission be refused, licences will reluctantly be terminated on the basis that no safe and viable location remains.
Cllr Steve Gallant, Leader of East Suffolk Council, said: “Safety is our absolute, number one priority and we have been clear to beach hut owners about this throughout a three-year examination of all options.
“The levels of erosion mean it is simply not possible for huts to return to the beach and their relocation to the promenade was only ever going to be temporary given the considerable disruption caused to other visitors.
“We have now identified a number of alternative locations, however they are subject to consideration by the Planning Committee and no guarantees can be made about the outcome of this process. Therefore, the possibility remains, as has been communicated regularly to beach hut owners, that licences may need to be revoked.
“This is clearly the last thing that we or anyone wants to happen, however there is simply no other viable alternative, and we will absolutely not, ever, compromise on safety. Fundamentally, this comes down to the aggressive changes in beach conditions which are affecting great swathes of the Suffolk coast.
“We are working as hard as we possibly can to support everyone affected and we have every sympathy with the beach hut owners. They have been consulted throughout this process and we want to take their wishes into consideration as much as possible. But there is, sadly, only so much we can do when faced with the impacts and effects of coastal erosion.”