Upset over Eastbourne beach chalets
A row has erupted between Eastbourne beach hut and chalet holders and the council.
People who rent the beach chalets along the seafront say they have been charged rent for them during two of the coronavirus lockdowns despite not being allowed to visit them.
Others are also upset at what they call a ‘steep rise’ in the rents introduced by the council at very short notice.
Chalet holders say that during the first lockdown from last March to the summer, they were unable to visit their seafront cabins because they were following government guidelines which banned people from leaving their homes without good reason.
In other areas of the country some local authorities locked their seafront chalets and fees were carried forward.
Eastbourne council’s Seafront Office said the council had not closed the chalets and people could ‘decide for themselves’ if they would like to make use of their chalets.
A council spokesperson said at the time, “We have followed government guidance on the use of beach huts.
“If people want to use them they can do so as long as they follow the current restrictions and act responsibly.”
In addition, some chalet holders have spoken out about a £365 increase in the rental cost of the property from £635 a year to £1,000.
Kim Keatley said, “I have a beach hut which is £635 per year and this year the council has put it up to £1,000 per year. I thought they were only allowed to put up by a certain percentage a year
“The people in the huts are angry and upset it has gone up so much and the council did not give much warning. We don’t get anything for the extra money and the council doesn’t maintain them at all.
“I have had to give mine up now and I did not want to. We had three weeks warning.”
A spokesperson at Eastbourne council defended the authority’s handling of the increase in charges.
The spokesperson said, “The council has a responsibility to provide value for money to residents.
“t was clear that after undertaking a review last year of some of our non-statutory services, including beach huts and chalets, we had been charging below the market rate, with some of the chalets seeing a substantial increase due to their rent not being increased for many years.
“There is a lengthy waiting list for chalets, especially at Holywell, and where tenants have given up their leases, they have been allocated to new users immediately.
“The chalets are maintained on a regular basis and if defects are reported to the Seafront Team they will be responded to.”