Senior councillors have set aside £130,000 to potentially build 10 beach huts for owners who face losing theirs from Sutton on Sea Colonnade.
East Lindsey District Council’s executive committee was told at its meeting on Wednesday that it had no requirement to compensate the private beach hut owners who face losing their huts on the Colonnade after the authority declared it unsafe.
Portfolio holder for finance Councillor Richard Fry reminded members of previous reports on the condition on the structure, which he said is “generally degraded” and needed major repairs.
He said: “The council is entitled to serve notice on the beach hut owners and there is no requirement for the council to recompense those owners.
“In terms of good governance and accountability the council should have reasonable justification for spending public money, so where there is no legal obligation to recompense the private beach hut owners it is difficult to see how compensation could be justified.”
However, he outlined a solution which would make “alternative stands and huts” available, which would remain the property of ELDC but would be leased to the beach hut owners.
Following the meeting, Councillor Steve Kirk, portfolio holder for coastal economy, told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines that the authority was “in a difficult position” legally and that the huts being offered would be “on a licence similar to the one they have now where they have the rights to be there.”
He said: “That’s for our legal team to sort out, what I’m concerned about is that there is a provision of beach huts, I’m passionate about them and I want to make sure we have beach huts in Sutton on Sea.
“We’re trying to do everything we can, within the confines of what a council is legally allowed to do.
“So while I appreciate there may be some for who this isn’t a satisfactory solution we are trying our hardest and this is, on advice, the closest thing we can get to try and ensure that they don’t feel they’re being hard done to.
“The beach huts will be there for them to use so if their real reason for concern is the loss of a beach hut then we can assure them there will be one for them to use so they can still enjoy the amazing views and fantastic beaches we have in Sutton on Sea.”
Consultation on the future of the Colonnade is due to begin in January.
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