Bournemouth beach hut owners blast council for 'forcing them out'

Furious beach hut owners including one who spent 13 years waiting for spot at Bournemouth beach blast council for ‘forcing them out’ to make way for £2.4million education centre

  • New eco education centre to be built on the site of 11 Bournemouth beach huts 
  • The furious owners of the huts have slammed the council over the proposal 
  • They say they haven’t been offered an alternative location for their beach huts 

A group of beach huts owners have spoken of their fury after it was revealed that their cabins will be removed to make way for a new eco education centre.

Officials at Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council served notice on the beach hut owners, or hutters, at Durley Chine, Bournemouth, Dorset, earlier this year after receiving government funding for the hub. 

However, the owners are livid they haven’t been offered an alternative beach-front site for their huts, or put at the top of the council waiting list for a new one. 

Stuart Smith, who spent 13 years on a waiting list for his hut and pays the council £1,300 a year in rent, is one of the angry owners.

Another is a woman who has had her hut for more than 25 years but has been told to remove it by the local council which owns the land it stands on.

The 11 privately-owned huts will make way for the £2.4m ‘Environmental Innovation Hub’ which will highlight to visitors the damage caused by plastic pollution.

Stuart Smith with his daughter Masie, 11, and two dogs Bella and Sasha on their last day at their beach hut on Bournemouth seafront

The 11 privately-owned huts will be demolished to make way for the £2.4m ‘Environmental Innovation Hub’

The 7ft by 5ft beach huts that presently stand on the site earmarked for the building on the prom have to be dismantled

The centre will be partly built out of plastic materials collected from the sea.

The 7ft by 5ft beach huts that presently stand on the site earmarked for the building on the prom have to be dismantled.

Mr Smith, who along with his father in law, spent 13 years in the council queue for their hut which they took on eight years ago.

They bought a brand new hut two years ago at a cost of £1,800 to replace the old one.

Mr Smith said: ‘All of the beach hut owners have been told to remove their huts by the end of this month.

‘They will not give an alternative location or even put us on a new waiting list.

‘We waited 13 years on a list to get it and now after a few years they throw us out, they can’t treat their tax paying local residents like this.

‘I want them to change their decision and provide us with an alternative location and not just fob us off and ignore their residents.’

Stuart Smith, who spent 13 years on a waiting list for his hut and pays the council £1,300 a year in rent, is one of the angry owners

Another is a woman who has had her hut for more than 25 years but has been told to remove it by the local council which owns the land it stands on

Mr Smith said: ‘We actually found a site where our hut could go. ‘But they still won’t budge as they have hundreds of people waiting’

Mr Smith wrote to BCP Council suggesting a vacant spot on the prom to place his beach hut, but received a response declining the proposal.

Since then he set up the online petition to express his frustration. It has been signed by over 300 people so far, with some signatories calling the council’s decision as ‘scandalous’.

Mr Smith said: ‘We actually found a site where our hut could go.

‘But they still won’t budge as they have hundreds of people waiting. They don’t care about the local residents.’

In its ‘bombshell’ letter sent to the 11 hunters earlier this year the council said: ‘The land currently licensed to you as a beach hut site will be needed to house the new hub.

‘We realise that this news will be extremely upsetting for you and your family and friends who may have used the beach hut for many years.’

In its ‘bombshell’ letter sent to the 11 hunters earlier this year the council said: ‘The land currently licensed to you as a beach hut site will be needed to house the new hub’

The council added: ‘We realise that this news will be extremely upsetting for you and your family and friends who may have used the beach hut for many years’

However, the council said it would have been unfair on the hundreds of people on the waiting list to have offered the 11 affected owners new hits ahead of them

A spokesman for BCP Council said it would have been unfair on the hundreds of people on the waiting list to have offered the 11 affected owners new hits ahead of them.

The spokesman said: ‘Beach hut tenants were informed of this in March allowing them five months to plan alternative arrangements if they wished to do so before the end of August.

‘We understand that this has caused frustrations for some tenants and as an act of goodwill we are being flexible over the payment of this year’s invoices.

‘In order to ensure our approach is consistent, fair and complies with our beach hut management policy, both to the 11 affected beach hut tenants and to those who are currently on a beach hut waiting list, we are unable to allocate 11 new spaces along the seafront or place them at the top of the waiting list.

The spokesman added that they offered the 11 hutters the option of moving to a council-owned hut closer to Bournemouth Pier.

But Mr Smith said these would have cost £3,000 a year to rent and they were in an area where revellers often get drunk.

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