Council fends off criticism over siting of beach huts during coronavirus lockdown
PUBLISHED: 11:59 09 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:12 09 April 2020
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
A council is facing a backlash over its decision to allow contractors to deliver eight new beach huts to the lower prom in Gorleston.
The units are being set in place over the next few days with Great Yarmouth Borough Council moving to assure residents it was safe to do so and that their use wasn’t being promoted.
However people on social media have been quick to criticise the move tagging it “highly wrong” at a time when many businesses have had to cease all trade and face going to the wall.
Several have said the work was not “essential” and should not have gone ahead, although some do support the council’s decision to carry on.
MORE: Value for money? How Gorleston’s beach huts compare to others around the country
In a statement on its Facebook page the council said the huts were ordered “well before” the pandemic.
It said: “If you normally take your daily exercise on Gorleston seafront, you might notice the arrival of eight beach huts on the Lower Esplanade over the next few days.
“Please be assured that they are not being promoted for use at this time.
“The manufacturing construction industry is allowed to continue operating, helping to support the economy, and our contractor will follow the correct working procedures and regulations in both transportation and delivery, to ensure safety of their operatives and the public.
“These were ordered well before the current national situation, and our contractor is completing their contract on time as originally agreed.
“The huts will be unloaded as prefabricated units from a flatbed vehicle, so it will be a quick operation.
“Very few people will be around, due to the national restrictions around social distancing.”
The council gave itself planning permission for 70 beach huts two years ago, with a price tag of around £20,000 each plus an annual ground rent.
Initially it was thought some 13 were sold of a first release of 20, but it emerged only four sales had been completed.
Instead the huts were put up for hire, one councillor branding the saga “embarrassing.”
Six huts were installed in May last year.
Most people welcomed their comeback, fuelling nostalgia for the holidays of yesteryear.
While some thought they were too expensive the council said the fees compared well with those of other resorts.
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