COUNCILLORS will vote on whether or not to consider selling Worthing Borough Council-owned beach huts at a meeting tonight.
A report by John Mitchell, the council’s director for communities, recommends that consideration is given to selling off the 129 huts.
I think it’s very much a worthwhile proposal and one I will push for.Mark Nolan, Worthing Borough Councillor
If sold at the current sales estimate of £8,625 per hut it would generate £1,112,625.
The report also carries the proposal to reduce the maintenance cycle of the huts from five-year to three-year intervals.
The beach hut report was undertaken after councillor Mark Nolan requested a cost benefit analysis of two different models relating to Worthing’s beach huts, at a previous joint overview and scrutiny committee meeting.
Model one is the current model where there is a mix of 289 privately-owned and 129 council-owned huts. Model two looks at what would happen if the council sold off its huts to private owners.
Councillor Mark Nolan said: “It’s very much in the early stages. It’s not being discussed with tenants or anything like that but I think it’s very much a worthwhile proposal and one I will push for.
“When I put this forward some time ago, one of the opposition members suggested I was selling off the family silverware. I think to suggest that these are that type of asset is the wrong approach.
“Whether they are privately-owned or rented they are a luxury. We have to acknowledge the rented ones are potentially being subsidised by local taxpayers and I don’t think that’s right.”
Currently, the privately-owned huts run from the west of George V Avenue to the east of the Sea Lane Cafe in Goring.
The council-owned huts start at the west of Heene Road and stretch east to George V Avenue.
The demand for the huts is high with the waiting list several years long. The annual cost of renting a hut is £1,040. Owners of the private huts have to pay an annual license fee of £480 for the right to locate the hut on the foreshore.
It is estimated that both models one and two would bring in around the same annual income – £163,000 for model one and £164,000 for model two. With investment income added, model two could rise to £175,000.