UK Beach Hut owners threatened for updating luxury sheds and illegally renting to tourists

Huts the way we like it – Phil Spencer on Britain’s best beach hut

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Beach hut owners in Essex’s Fricton-on-Sea, as well as Clacton and Walton, are in trouble with the council for personalising their beach huts. Some have made extensive alterations, adding verandahs, patios and extensions.

Councils are in the process of putting a stop to this practise.

Ownership of the eleven foot by seven foot huts in Essex’s Frinton-on-Sea can go for as much as £80,000.

This depends on a licence from Tendring District Council.

Owners who live in the council’s district pay around £300 a year for this licence.

Those who come from outside the area pay double, setting themselves back £600 per year.

However, some beach enthusiasts have been warned that they may face enforcement due to the unlawful customisation of their beach huts.

Fricton-on-Sea and neighbouring areas are home to a whopping 3,000 of them.

But the council is clamping down on owners who are keen to extend their properties with verandahs, patios, extensions and even gardens.

In a warning letter to local estate agents, the council’s ‘Beach Hut Team’ stated: “As you are aware beach hut licences are issued by the council as the land owner.

“When a beach hut is sold, the licence is terminated and a new one only allows a beach hut which conforms to the approved specification to be placed on council land.”

The letter continued that there are several huts which breach regulations that are not covered by their licence.

Frinton Beach Huts Association’s website reads: “You can’t add anything outside of the footprint of your hut without planning permission, except for basic straight steps as per the licence conditions.”

Estate agents have been asked to photograph the beach huts from all sides in order to check that the regulations are being abided by.

Another breach in rules is that some beach hut owners have been renting out these properties to other people.

This practise is not permitted.

Even still, the average rental is around £150 a week in the summer.

Until recently, a company offered 10 huts in Walton as a summer business.

Beach hut owners will have to refrain from making large alterations to these summer stations if they want to avoid enforcements including not having their license renewed.

Beach huts can be bought when owners decide to sell, however.

Beach hut owners will have to refrain from making large alterations to these summer stations if they want to avoid enforcement. 

However, owners are permitted to paint their properties in an array of colours including pale pink, pale cream, sage green, pale green, blue grey and pale blue, according to Frinton Beach Huts Association – allowing for some creativity.

Up until recent years, they could only use traditional colours such as brown, green and white.

Alex Porter, Tendring District Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, told Express.co.uk: “Beach hut licensees will receive a letter in the coming weeks reminding them of their licence conditions as part of work to review and revise the authority’s Beach Hut Strategy.

“We are just starting the process of revising the Beach Hut Strategy, and as part of this we will be reviewing the existing licence scheme to see what improvements can be made.

“The views of beach hut associations are integral to this, and we will be asking for their involvement in the process.

“The existing licence is for personal use only and requires hut owners to inform us before they sell their hut – and that the new owner can only apply for a new licence if the hut meets the licence requirements.”

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