The lease for the Folkestone beach huts was made between the Council and Peter Kemp in 1997, when the Lib Dems ruled the universe known as Shepway District, now Folkestone & Hythe District Council. He paid the Council £2,750 for the lease each year and could charge pretty much what he wanted for rent.
Fast forward fifteen years to March 2012, when Steve Cook of Hawkinge wanted a beach hut. Mr Cook accused the Council of “meekly surrendering” up to £675,000 in rent for the Council.
Kay McLoughlin of Academy FM, spent a year asking the Council about the set up regarding the beach huts. Ms McLoughlin was rather annoyed that the Council signed off a contract which it didn’t have any control of it.
In March 2012 the Herald makes it clear the lease between Mr Kemp and the Council owned Folkestone Parks And Pleasure Grounds Charity was up for renewal, and the Council were “considering its options”. After some deliberation the Council decided to keep on with Mr Kemp as the leaseholder. However, it transpired just one month later, April 2012, in another article in the Herald that some beach hut users were paying business rates, and others not. The Council had “no idea” who was renting the huts. A Council spokesman made it clear all beach hut users should be paying rates by law, but admitted it was struggling to enforce it because it did not have a list of who was down there, as they did not have people’s home addresses to send bills to. It was discovered it was charging some beach hut users rates and not others
Fast forward another seven years to 13th Nov 2019 and the Cabinet Report Number C/19/37 discussed below – Cllr Colllier’s microphone was not working and all his sound was lost.
The report considers a request from the Trustees of the Folkestone Parks and Pleasure Ground Charity, whose trustees are all Cllrs, to seek approval from Full Council to provide capital funding of £500,000 to support the renovation of 16 of existing beach chalets, the demolition of the remaining 58 beach chalets and the installation of 120 new beach chalets at Marine Walk, Folkestone.
The financial model developed for the Beach Chalets scheme has been based on the following assumptions; *all figures rise by 3% annually.
Rental charges set ranging between £850 and £1200 depending on size and type of chalet.
The Cabinet voted unanimously to approve the recommendations, on the 13th Nov, which were:
To receive and note report C/19/37.
To seek approval from Full Council for a capital budget of £500,000 to be met from Prudential Borrowing to support the Folkestone Parks and Pleasure Grounds Charity’s Folkestone Beach Chalets Scheme.
Because the Council want to grant £500,000 or more, it is a decision reserved for full Council. The Council’s constitution makes this clear under Article 12.3.2(a)(iii)
So today, it is not just the £100,000,000 million the Council are asking for Otterpool Park. It is also asking for £500,000 for the beach chalets.
The fourteen opposition Cllrs have become thirteen opposition Cllrs, as Cllr Ray Field (Lab) (pictured far left), who is also Deputy Mayor of Folkestone, is on annual leave moving his way down the West coast of America until the 4th December. So unless there are any renegades from the Tory, Ukip or Independent Cllr’s the vote appears to be lost before it has been taken. Meaning the finances for Otterpool and the Beach Huts in Folkestone, will more likely than not be approved.
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful