To sell or not

Your letters
Your letters

Regarding the report on the sale of the beach huts in the Herald (March 12) that Worthing council’s director of communities was recommending that consideration be given to sell the 129 council-owned beach huts, which are rented.

It should be welcome news to most council tax payers, although probably not to those from within and outside the borough who currently rent.

The sale of the huts should provide a contribution of over £1million to the council coffers, an amount which cannot be dismissed lightly.

Further scrutiny may reveal that by converting rental huts to private ownership, additional annual income will be derived in addition to the capital benefit. The recent report to the joint overview and scrutiny committee stated that the annual profitability per hut, at just under £400, is similar for both private and rental huts.

This is in marked contrast to figures quoted in November 2011 in a report to the joint strategic committee on the Capital Investment Programme, prepared by the executive head (Financial Services).

In that report, on Page 13, the annual profitability for a private hut is shown as £336 compared with only £60 for a rental hut, a very significant difference.

Over the 20-year life of a hut, it was reported the surplus would be £12,270 for private sale huts and £1,200 for a rental.

The conclusion in 2011 was: “The best option is to sell the beach huts due to having the greatest margin over 20 years, producing yearly cash inflows and with greatly reduced risk”.

It would be interesting to know the reason for the sudden improvement in the profitability of rental huts when the annual rental has increased by only about 2 per cent each year, despite the long waiting list for huts.

The 2011 report, prepared by the accounts function, provides further evidence to support a change from rental to private huts.

If councillor Mark Nolan’s proposal for sale of the rental huts is accepted, to ease their pain, perhaps special consideration could be given to those tenants who live in the borough.

Vernon Kitch

Marine Drive


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