Victory for Hove beach hut owners
Beach hut owners will continue to have their original licence arrangement with Brighton and Hove City Council.
Owners were outraged at plans for increased fees and charges of up to 1,378 per cent.
Related stories: Hove beach hut owners ask council to freeze licence fees
At its meeting on Thursday (January 17) the council’s tourism, development and culture committee agreed to retain the existing beach hut licence and not introduce a new licence at this stage.
The committee also agreed to increasing the annual licence fee for beach huts for 2019-20 from £367.20 a year to £404.
This charge is still significantly cheaper than neighbouring Adur, which charges £445 a year and Seaford Town Council, which charges between £406.50 and £500 a year.
Councillors voted to increase the cost of the licence last January as part of wider price increases for sports and leisure facilities as well as libraries.
After protests from beach hut owners, who went on to form their own association in November, a consultation was carried out.
There are 459 wooden beach huts on Hove seafront that are privately owned by Brighton and Hove residents.
A total of 142 owners responded to the consultation with 98 asking to remain with the existing licence.
Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth, who represents Wish ward in Hove, has worked closely with beach hut owners as hundreds of huts are in his ward.
He told the committee: “This was a great opportunity squandered.
“It should have been an opportunity to bring the licence into the 21st century. Instead it was conducted in a way to bring in a sales tax by the back door.”
He described the formation of the Hove Beach Hut Owners Association as the best thing to come out of the controversy.