North Norfolk beach hut rents up 10pc
Beach hut owners on north Norfolk's coast were left angry yesterday after councillors agreed a 10pc hike in rent for their seaside hideaways.The 132 chalets and 230 hut sites in Cromer, Sheringham, Overstrand and Mundesley, managed by the district council, are costing the authority thousands of pounds to maintain each year.
Beach hut owners on north Norfolk's coast were left angry yesterday after councillors agreed a 10pc hike in rent for their seaside hideaways.
The 132 chalets and 230 hut sites in Cromer, Sheringham, Overstrand and Mundesley, managed by the district council, are costing the authority thousands of pounds to maintain each year.
At a cabinet meeting, councillors approve an increase in rent, along with a number of other changes, to help cover the deficit and fund a programme of improvements.
It means, beach-hut owners in Sheringham, Cromer and Overstrand face a �15 increase in the annual charge, taking it from �160 to �175, Mundesley sites will cost �165 instead of �155, while yearly rents for chalet owners will rise by between �55 and �62 pounds.
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Mundesley's beach hut owners will also have to pay their National Non-Domestic Rate separately, which was previously incorporated into their rents.
At this week's meetings, where public speaking was allowed for the first time, villagers shouted their annoyance as they left the room.
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They said hut owners, who fund their own repairs and maintenance, were being made to pay for a deficit created solely by chalets - although council figures show the hut sites cost the council �3,000 in 2008/09 - and that Mundesley people were being penalised twice.
Speaking outside the meeting Peter Moore, portfolio holder for resources at North Norfolk District Council, said, while there was a risk the price hike annoy some, the council could no longer operate the properties at a loss.
He said: 'We don't see why the general rate payer should have to subsidise anything in the district they don't get the benefit of.'
The rent increases should see the council move from making a �14,000-a-year loss from the service to a �13,000 profit in 2011/12.
Officers will also look at what funding is available to provide more beach hut sites for short-term let to address huge waiting lists and refurbish existing chalets.