At Seaton Town Council’s public meeting at the beginning of this month, Cllr Geoff Pook, East Devon District Council’s Chair of Asset Management, described beach huts as a financial asset for the Council and his aim as to ‘identify the market rate’ and get the ‘best value’ for them – even if EDDC’s proposed auction (not supported by any of the hundred plus people present) did not go ahead.
Surely, however, the sites and huts are community assets of the people of Seaton and other towns in East Devon, and should be valued primarily for the use which many residents make of them? Huts should continue to be provided as a service, primarily for local people, at a fixed, fair price which reflects the real costs – which Cllr Pook admitted he doesn’t even know.
The difficult issues are fairness between existing and would-be users of the huts. Since so many people are on waiting lists, what about providing additional sites in Seaton and elsewhere?
Pook also said that beach huts are not the only asset he is looking to raise more cash from – what next?