Threat of a move still hangs over beach huts

BEACH huts along Hill Head's seafront are still in danger of being moved with funding set to be secured for a project to fix a crumbling sea defence.

Thursday, 19th May 2016, 6:00 am
Beach hut owner Tony Pepper of Old Street, Hill Head, left, with Bill Hutchinson of the Hill Head Residents Association at the Hill Head sea wall Picture: Loughlan Campbell

Fareham Borough Council and the coastal engineers at the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership (ESCP) are set to install a new groyne at the point affectionately known by residents as ‘The Kink’ this September, ahead of rebuilding parts of the sea wall next summer.

The work follows a botched £39,000 attempt to repair the defences in January with the council now in the process of drawing up designs for the plans.

Fareham councillor Keith Evans, executive member for planning at the council raised the idea of moving the 33 beach huts along the promenade temporarily to carry out the works at a Community Action Team (CAT) meeting in March.

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Sean Woodward, the council’s executive leader has confirmed that the local authority has not yet ruled out the option.

He said: ‘We are still addressing the idea of moving the beach houses but nothing has been decided as of yet.

Cllr Woodward added that funding for the project had been set aside by the council.

He said the figure was in the ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’.

Lyall Cairns, head of ESCP said: ‘We have been coming up with a fair few options for the site at the moment and we are optimistic that the council will provide the funds for the project.

‘If everything comes together then we should be looking to build the groyne by September and start work on the sea wall by next June, should the council approve the plans.’

Bill Hutchinson, chairman of the Hill Head Residents Association, said the council had provided poor maintenance of the groynes for years.

‘The council has neglected the groynes for the last 15 years and it is beginning to realise that we know what we are talking about,’ he said.

The promenade was first closed last December due to it being deemed unsafe.

ESCP was handed the work but funding was hard to come by for the project as the lack of flooding risk to properties made the project a low priority.

Mr Hutchinson, of Cliff Road, Hill Head, who owns a beach hut on The Kink, said the project could be done without moving the beach houses.

Beach hut owner Tony Pepper of Old Street, Hill Head added: ‘If they move the houses for the project, we would have to find somewhere to put it, transport it, then have to pay for it to be brought back and re-erected.

‘Why do they need to move the huts to do it?’

A paper outlining a case to allocate funding for the project is due to be submitted to Fareham Borough Council’s executive in July.