Portsmouth City Council wants to build more beach huts at Eastney

PROPOSAL The current Eastney beach huts.   Picture: Paul Jacobs (132209-1)
PROPOSAL The current Eastney beach huts. Picture: Paul Jacobs (132209-1)

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PLANS are being drawn up for 25 new beach huts along Eastney Esplanade – but not everyone is happy with the scheme.

Councillor Lee Hunt and Portsmouth City Council’s Seafront Services are aiming to get planning permission for the huts, which would be 9.5ft high.

A bid to build 100 new huts at 13ft high was dropped in August after fierce community opposition, with many critics unhappy that it would alter the picturesque views.

But East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum vice-chairman Leon Reis said: ‘The new plan is the same as the old plan but they’ve cut the westernmost 75 huts off it.

‘But they could add those on later and achieve in stages what was so desperately unpopular with everybody in the first place.’

Mr Reis also questioned why the council wanted to spend money on tailor-made huts rather than use existing designs.

Seafront Services manager David Evans said: ‘The new beach huts are based on a metal box but the traditional seaside look is maintained with sides, top and front as a wraparound.

‘This architect design is much easier to maintain and more secure than the current style of beach hut that we have on our seafront.’

The huts would be built on the shingle to the west of 18 existing ones.

Councillors for Eastney and Craneswater ward Terry Hall, Luke Stubbs and Matthew Winnington, said they were all broadly in favour of the plan.

Cllr Stubbs said: ‘I’m pleased they’ve cut the number of units, but we do need to know if this is it or just phase one of a larger scheme.’

Cllr Hall said: ‘I think the plan may need some tweaking.’

And she added: ‘In our budget the city council is expecting the money for 100 beach huts. People always ask for more attractions on the seafront and the only way we can provide that is to have more money coming in.’

Council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said something had to be done to bring down the existing five-year waiting list for beach huts. And he said he was keen to hear ideas about where to place additional huts.

Mr Reis said Cllr Hunt only informed the neighbourhood forum of the plan last week.

He said: ‘There was no chance of a two-way dialogue on the plan.’

Cllr Hunt was unavailable for comment.