Hill Head beach hut rent may go up by more than a quarter next year

Beach huts at Hill Head
Beach huts at Hill Head
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MEMBERS of a beach hut group say they are angry rent prices could increase by more than a quarter.

It costs £379 for a Fareham resident to rent a beach hut in Hill Head.

But council officers are proposing that from next April the rent is put up to £477 a year – an increase of 26 per cent.

Those who live outside of Fareham will also see a rent hike of 26 per cent, going from £758 a year to £954.

There are 171 beach huts leased to Fareham residents, and 39 to people outside of the borough.

Percy O’Dell, is chairman of the Beach Hut Association. He said members are unhappy with such a big increase.

He said: ‘Last year I made a deputation against a five per cent increase that was put in place.

‘We wanted to see if there could be a triannual rate, which would be valid for three years.

‘What members are most-angry about is the way in which the council said it could put the rent up if it wanted to and the time frame we were given to respond.

‘We also wanted to be a part of the review, but council officers did that without us.’

The proposal to hike the charges by 26 per cent is based on making it comparable to beach huts in Hayling Island, which is set by Havant Borough Council.

Mr O’Dell added: ‘It’s not like-for-like as they have a different set-up compared to us.

‘The beach huts there are bigger and there are more facilities around – we aren’t comparable.’

A decision on the changes is due to be made on Monday at Fareham Borough Council’s executive meeting, which starts at 6pm.

Leader of the council Councillor Sean Woodward said that he is not in favour of such a big increase.

He said: ‘The government has reduced the amount of grant money given, and as a council we have to look at the issue of making savings and raising charges.

‘We have one of the lowest council tax rates and lowest grant incomes, so there are challenges.

‘If a rent increase on these commercial properties was passed then money would go on running council services.

‘I think the increase is totally unacceptable.

‘If we are going to make a significant increase then it should be phased in over the years.’