April 27, 2022 3.00 pm

Wannabe Wells-next-the-Sea beach huts are ‘health and safety hazard’

Organisers say the plans are at an early stage and will improve

A series of huts and a metal container that have appeared on Sutton on Sea beach have been labelled an “eyesore” and sparked safety fears, but those behind the plans say they are not finished and believe the project will be beneficial to the local area.

A series of posts on Facebook with images of the new structures appeared on groups including the Save Sutton On Sea Colonnade and Beach Huts and the Sutton on Sea Beachcare pages over the past few days.

Many noted the huts appeared to be placed haphazardly on the dunes, with some at an angle or looking unsupported.

Founder of the Sutton on Sea Beachcare group Lianne Havell said none of the residents she had spoken to were happy about the new features.

She criticised the lack of access for those with mobility issues noting they were safer in a previous location on the promenade.

Stephen Maples questioned the amount of consultation that had gone into the plans, adding: “I must admit the container does look awful, and will still look awful when it’s painted another colour, the colour is not the issue, it’s the container please, please site it somewhere else.”

Lesley Lewis said: “These eyesores on the beach are a health and safety hazard now not safe for public use.”

Diane Turner commented “They need moving before somebody gets seriously hurt, plus they are an eyesore, what will visitors think?”

Paddy Poynton said: “Nightmare waiting to happen – get them back in the compound for now.”

The container in particular has been labelled an “eyesore”. | Image: Sutton on Sea Beachcare

The huts have been organised by the Mablethorpe Area Partnership.

They were originally on the Sutton on Sea Colonnade, however, have had to be moved after the lease with East Lindsey District Council ended.

Chairman of the partnership and ELDC Ward Councillor Helen Matthews leapt to the defence of the beach huts, posting on her own Facebook page that there had been “a lot of misinformation and concern”.

She told Local Democracy Reporters she was confused by the negativity online, and said she had been approached by a number of people offering to help and giving positive comments.

She said the project aimed to “let people know that although the colonnade project will take some years to come to fruition, Sutton on Sea is still open for business especially for those who love and enjoy the beach hut culture”.

The partnership has worked with the Environment Agency and Natural England to site the huts on the beach like some other coastal resorts she said, referencing locations such as Wells-next-the-Sea.

“Historically huts were sited in years gone by on the beach along with the horse drawn beach huts and bell tents,” said Councillor Matthews.

“The sand was cleared and with help from local farmers the huts were moved onto the beach.”

She said the project was still in early stages and that organisers realised they were “in a natural mobile environment”.

Commenters fear the huts are not safe. | Image: Sutton on Sea Beachcare

Councillor Matthews added that solutions were being sought, including the potential for small platforms or decking to be installed, with local businesses donating paint and volunteers helping to improve the aesthetic.

The exhibition container is going to be part of a community art youth project and painted to improve the appearance, she explained.

The first exhibition, in partnership with the Greater Lincolnshire Nature partnership, will tell the story of the flora and fauna in the dunes environment

She said there had already been advanced bookings for the huts with proceeds going to local causes.

Several people have commented positively in response to Councillor Matthews’ post with Beverly Cundliffe saying: ” I think it’s a great idea and I know so many people love the beach huts.

“I’m sure when they are on stilts they will meet health and safety and people can enjoy our beautiful coast.”

Susan Unwin replied: “What a wonderful idea to enhance the experience of a day at the beach able to stay longer and use the facilities in the town boosting the economy well-thought out.”

East Lindsey District Council and Councillor Adrian Benjamin, who is also understood to be involved, have also been contacted for further comment.