The cost of renting a beach hut in Herne Bay is to rise for council taxpayers – putting it on a par with fees charged to holidaymakers.
Canterbury City Council will charge residents £434 a year, a 22 per cent increase on the current £355 charge. By contrast, charges for non-residents has gone from £425 to £434, an increase of just two per cent, this wipes out the discount for council taxpayers.
Alan Ratford, the chairman of the Herne Bay Beach Hut Association, said the city council had “honoured the agreement struck between us” to phase in proposed cost increases over two years but said the agreement had only come after “a long and hard fought battle”. He added:
“The city council took advice that the hut rents should be substantially increased. Both the city council and the associations obtained professional valuations of the hut rents. After much argument the matter was settled.”
Mr Ratford also said he was proud that his association had managed to slow down the rate at which long-term owners, who had previously had a hefty discount, would be brought up to the prices of other hut owners. This still amounted to an extra £79 per year, bringing their bill up to £294, a 37 per cent increase.
Last year, Mr Ratford said the city council just thought of Herne Bay beach hut owners as “a cash cow”. Speaking during the meeting, council leader John Gilbey said his was “a listening administration” but that new cuts and increased fees would have to be made in the coming years “to avoid more expensive borrowing”.