Changes for island beach hut terms and rents

Beach hut owners on council land are facing price rises of hundreds of pounds in their annual rents – but attractive new lease benefits are on offer to lessen the impact.

The rent increases, if approved, will be phased in to ease pressures – and will be combined with more attractive ten year leases to replace the current three year licences.

The new arrangements will give owners greater long-term security and also make it far easier for them to cash in on their seaside huts if they choose.

The council owns the freehold of the land on which the beach huts sit – and the huts themselves are owned by the current licence holders.

Recently one at Puckpool, Ryde was sold on by a licence holder for £22,000.

“People with beach huts have an asset from which they can get great enjoyment and can potentially gain financially if they choose, and we are planning a fair and standardised market rent for the ultimate benefit of all Island residents,” said council leader, Councillor Dave Stewart.

“We have had a review of rent valuations to bring them right up to date – and remove current disparities between smaller and larger huts.

“The change from three year licences to ten year leases, will give more security of tenure and make the huts more marketable for the owners if they choose to sell.

“The income from a sale goes entirely to the leaseholder of the beach hut and not to the council, other than a small transfer fee – so they really can benefit financially.

“Beach hut sites are a key asset for all the Island’s residents not just the huts’ owners – and the rental income rightly goes into the pot to spend on all council services, and increases will mean more money in vital areas. This is part of our commercialisation strategy.”

The proposed changes are in a delegated decision report published today (22 May) on the 174 beach huts at Appley and Puckpool, Ryde; Gurnard; East Cowes; and Old Littlestairs, Shanklin. Those at Dunroamin, Sandown and Madeira Road, Colwell will be considered separately at a future date.

Currently the ground rent, with some variations, is £308 a year.

Based on a new valuation of £162.03 per square metre, the figures would rise to between £608 and £1,296.

But this would be phased in over three years from next April, buying time for owners to adjust to the change – and there will be a new system of payment by monthly instalment to spread the cost.

“There have been anomalies in the charges for many years. In some locations beach hut owners have clearly benefited compared to others. The new rents will be a fairer and market-attuned approach,” said Councillor Stewart.

“Of course we recognise that beach huts have brought great joy and have much emotional importance for many generations of families – and we hope this experience continues.

“It is also well documented that beach huts in some mainland resorts have been sold for substantial amounts. There is clearly a market and many existing beach hut owners on the Island are sitting on potentially very marketable assets.”