THE news that Canterbury City Council (CCC) has put up the fees on Herne Bay’s beach huts has drawn a mixed response from local owners. Within the district’s budget, which was agreed on Thursday last week, local residents will be charged £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 2 per cent, which eradicates the discount for CCC 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. Sadly, 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”.
Herne Bay Times, February 25th 2015