An artist, who has been using a hut she did not own in Shoreham Beach as a studio for more than seven years, has secured a new space at Shoreham Port.
Anna Davies received planning permission to use the building in Kings Walk as an art studio in 2011, after she was unsuccessful in her attempts to track down its righful owners.
She will be moving into one of Shoreham Port’s newly renovated units in Albion Street, which has recently been made available for tenants, along with independent artist Sue Penrose.
Ms Davies, who creates bespoke stained glass, said: “I am very excited about the new unit and moving onward and upwards.
“The Port authority are my new landlord and they are an absolute pleasure to work with.”
Ms Davies’ use of the hut in Shoreham Beach had attracted criticism from some residents, who labelled her ‘a squatter’ and claimed the rightful owners were members of the former Shoreham Angling Club.
This issue of the unresolved ownership was raised at a planning meeting last year, in which Ms Davies sought retrospective permission for an extension of hours to operate classes in the hut.
But Ms Davies told the Herald after the meeting last year: “I feel like I have done my best trying to find the owners.
“I have spent a lot of money and nobody has every approached me with confirmation of ownership.”
Ms Davies said she had installed electrics, water, guttering and windows in the hut, which had been derelict and ‘full of rubbish, broken glass, used condoms and needles’ when she arrived.
“I have worked very hard to make it what it is,” she said. “I am a single parent trying to survive as an artist.”
In June 2017, Shoreham Angling Club Limited was incorporated and registered as the freehold owner of the land and hut in Kings Walk.
A spokesman for the organisation said solicitors wrote to Ms Davies in July, offering her the chance to have a lease of the premises.
The letter stated that the organisation had ‘no wish to cause unnecessary disruption to the business’ but could not allow the present situation to continue, the spokesman said.
Discussions then ensued between the organisation’s solicitors and solicitors instructed by Ms Davies, confirmed the spokesman.
In response the news that Ms Davies had secured a new studio, the organisation’s spokesman said the future of the hut had not been decided.
“To date the club has only decided that it needed to recover possession of the premises,” the spokesman said.
“Nothing further has been decided as yet as to where we go from here.”
Ms Davies added that she had been in discussions with the organisation about potentially renting the hut in Kings Walk for 12 months as an additional studio.
She and Ms Penrose will use the new unit rented from the port both as a place to make their art and from which to run daytime, weekend and evening courses for both stained glass and mosaic making.
Ms Penrose said: “Anna and I have been working from premises on Shoreham beach, but are excited to be moving ‘The Hut’ to our new premises at Shoreham Port.
“It’s a fabulous open plan space, with lots of daylight, which is perfect for our business.
“We love the prominent position and will be opening our doors to local people on a regular basis, so that people can see what we do, and maybe join us to make something on a course.”
Tim Hague, Director of Property and Development at Shoreham Port, said: “It’s always great to expand our tenant community with new businesses.
“It’s encouraging to hear that Sue and Anna are excited with their decision to relocate to the Port and are embracing the new unit we have recently renovated.
“I’m sure they will find the Port an excellent location to expand their business.”