16 Mar 12- 30 Apr 12
The Borough of Poole consulted on about proposed changes to the Beach Hut Lettings Policy. The aim of the proposed changes was to reduce the waiting list for people wanting a beach hut and make huts more accessible to a higher number of residents.
The consultation closed on 30 April 2012 and the results are now available after being presented to Cabinet on 16 October. The appendices provide details of the comments provided to explain answers to the consultation questions.
The Cabinet Minutes will be available on-line.
Information and a feedback form was sent to beach hut tenants, those on the waiting list and those people who hired a short-term beach hut during 2011 who had given an address.
We also invited residents, anyone who would like to become a beach hut tenant, has hired a beach hut, or who has an interest to give their views.
Background to the situation
Poole has 1,061 beach huts along its main beaches at Sandbanks, Shore Road, Flaghead, Canford Cliffs, Branksome Chine and Branksome Dene. 962* huts are let to Poole residents using an ongoing annual licence agreement. Each licence is renewed on an annual basis until terminated (usually by the tenant) with no maximum term. Between 40 and 60 huts become available each year and are offered to those on the waiting list. The Council also has 94* short-term lets for people wanting huts for shorter periods, such as a week. An additional 5 huts are let to groups.
What was the issue?
There are 339* people on the waiting list for a hut along Poole’s main beaches. The list was closed in 2007 due to approximate waiting times of up to 10 years. The length of time often depends on the hut requested, as some are more popular than others, so the wait may be longer or shorter.
What has been done?
Given the long waiting list for beach huts, in July 2011, Councillors formed a cross-party working group to consider ways to reduce the wait for people wanting a beach hut. The main aims were to:
make beach huts more readily available and accessible by developing a higher rate of turnover
reduce the waiting time for a hut
generate more income from beach huts overall, whilst continuing to ensure affordable access as much as possible
What was considered?
The Beach Hut Working Party considered a range of factors when developing the proposals, including:
impact of any changes on existing tenants patterns of tenancy and use
current 3 year pricing strategy (2011-13 inclusive) effects on administration and maintenance
number and availability of short-term rental huts - the limited options for provision of additional beach huts
The Working Party considered the following options:
No change – this was not supported as it would not meet the aims above.
Introduce a maximum lease term – terms from 1 year to 15 years were considered.
Remove the waiting list system and make all huts short-term lets. This option was not supported due to patterns of customer demand and additional administrative costs.
The Working Party concluded that, to reduce the current waiting list and enable access to a higher number of residents, the Council would have to consider changing it’s current Lettings Policy and limit the length of time a hut could be rented for. The proposals were presented to Cabinet on 13 December 2011. The Cabinet minutes and reports are available.
There are 114 sites in Hamworthy Park and 4 sites at Branksome Chine Beach where tenants own and maintain wooden huts and are granted a licence for the site only. These 118 sites currently fall outside the scope of the proposals.
*figures correct at 31 January 2012