Essex beach hut owners have been threatened with a ban if they continue to ‘pimp’ their properties with additions like patios, balconies and decking without permission.
Owners in Frinton, Brightlingsea, Clacton and Walton-on-the-Naze have been told their licences will be revoked if they continue to ‘customise’ their huts.
In a review of its beach hut strategy, Tendring District Council – which owns the sites where the huts stand – is writing to all its licensees to remind them of the terms and conditions.
A line of beach huts at Frinton-on-Sea, most of which have had verandas added
Tendring District Council – which owns the sites where the huts stand – is writing to all its licensees to remind them of the rules. Pictured: Huts in Frinton
What are the rules for Essex beach huts?
What colours can you paint your hut?
Pale Pink; Pale cream; Sage green; Pale green; Blue grey; Pale blue
What building specifications are there to the beach huts?
You can’t add anything outside of the footprint of your hut without planning permission, except for basic straight steps as per the licence conditions.
Can you drive down to my beach hut to unload or collect items?
If gates are locked out of season, hut owners should call Tendring District Council for access.
Licences have to be obtained when someone buys a beach hut, while owners are required to renew theirs each year.
People selling their beach huts are being asked to take pictures and share them with the council, which will the say whether the new owner would be granted a licence.
The next licence review for existing owners will take place in April 2023, at which point anyone who has carried out unauthorised additions could be told to remove them or risk losing their licence, MailOnline understands.
A warning letter has also been sent to local estate agents, the council saying huts have ‘breached specifications’ with the erection of patios, balconies and decking, when the site licence does not cover these adaptations.
The council wants estate agents to tell them when beach huts change hands, so the warning can also go to new owners.
Alex Porter, the council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said ‘We are just starting the process of revising the Beach Hut Strategy, and as part of this we will be reviewing the existing licence scheme to see what improvements can be made.
‘The views of beach hut associations are integral to this, and we will be asking for their involvement in the process.
The next licence review for existing owners will take place in April 2023, at which point anyone who has carried out unauthorised additions could be told to remove them or risk losing their licence, MailOnline understands
‘The existing licence is for personal use only and requires hut owners to inform us before they sell their hut, and that the new owner can only apply for a new licence if the hut meets the licence requirements.’
The threat of a council crackdown has led to a revolt from beach hut owners.
Former soldier Mark Clare, who runs Ten Hut Limited, believes that a hut called ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ – which is painted in bright turquoise and white and boasts an Audrey Hepburn stencil – may have triggered the upset among some of the more conservative hut owners.
In nearby Clacton, Kim Norfolk told the council to ‘relax a bit’ and warned that such officiousness could ‘put people off’ from visiting.
A growing number of the colourful huts that line the seafronts of Clacton-on-Sea, Walton-on-the-Naze and Frinton-on-Sea have been refurbished and extended by their owners