'It's an embarrassment' - council left red-faced by lack of beach hut sales
PUBLISHED: 15:19 24 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:19 25 July 2019
A Norfolk council has been left red-faced after it was revealed just four of its beach huts had been sold despite reports suggesting some 13 had been snapped up months ago.
Deputy leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Graham Plant, branded the predicament embarrassing at a council meeting at the Town Hall on Tuesday night.
Sales have been so disappointing the authority has now decided to put a number of the beach huts in Gorleston up for rent in order to drive up interest.
Speaking at the council's policies and resources meeting, Mr Plant, said: "It's an embarrassment.
"This is a new project and we shouldn't be in this position.
"We now need to find a way to get people through the doors."
It was initially believed 20 beach huts went up for sale in October last year at £19,800 each and 13 had been sold.
However, it was revealed on Tuesday a number of these sales had fallen through and just four had been bought.
It has also emerged only 12 were on sale in the first place from Aldreds estate agents.
Mr Plant believes the price - which was set by officers who used market rates - was too high.
"It's like anything new you do in business, you need to give people an incentive," he said.
"Unfortunately that was not done and the price was too high."
Leader of the Labour group in Great Yarmouth, Trevor Wainwright, described the lack of sales as disappointing.
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He said: "I, like everyone else, was lead to believe people were queueing up to buy the beach huts.
"I do not know the exact reasons for the lack of sales but it must have been to do with the price.
"It is crucial that we start renting the huts out as soon as possible."
Councillors agreed the price of rent for the huts on Tuesday night.
Residents will be charged £120 for a one week rental, £300 for one month and £1,200 for eight months.
The white beach huts on Gorleston's Lower Esplanade can still be bought on Aldreds website for the original price of £19,800.
The borough council gave itself planning permission for 70 huts close to the beach last summer.