Beach Huts: Financial Irregularities & Incompetence

Eighty new beach huts will be put on Marine Walk, Folkestone, between 4th May & 17th May 2020, according to Folkestone & Hythe District Council. The Council are to retain beach huts 1-27 and the 8 tiered chalets. Meaning in all there’ll be 115 huts.

To place the beach huts onto Marine Walk will cost between £200,000 and £250,000.

The Council is looking to provide 80 wooden style beach huts. All huts will be of timber frame construction, with pitched roof and painted timber cladding. There are two sizes of huts required.

Infrastructure improvement works will take place prior to the installation to prepare the area for the installation. These are anticipated to start in early February and continue for 10 weeks. As such it is anticipated that installation of the new beach huts should take place week commencing 4th May.

This then means the Council, or rather the Folkestone Parks and Pleasure Ground Charity have approx £250,000 to spend on the beach huts themselves.

Screenshot from 2020-01-09 23-02-09

The Council’s charity have allotted maintenance costs of £100 per beach hut in the first five years says report C/19/37, rising to £175 per beach hut from year six.  This is for 115 beach huts, as we said. This is a report by newly appointed Corporate Director – Andy Blaszkowicz Corporate Director of Housing & Operations (pictured).

Now if there are 115  beach huts, then the maintenance fund is £11,500 a year, each year for the first five years. However, the report makes it clear at page 4  that costs would be

  • £14,500 (£100 per chalet) is put aside for annual maintenance. After 5 years this increases to £25,375 (£175 per chalet).

The Council figures mean they’ll be 145 beach huts, not 115.  But eighty plus thirty five = 115.

This means in the first five years alone, beach hut owners may well be overcharged £15,000, and by the tenth year they’ll be potentially overcharged another £26,250 each, according to the Council published figures.

The Corporate Director in charge of Housing prepared report C/19/37. As we know, overcharging of £1.5 million has happened in relation to East Kent Housing, and it appears the Charity wish to overcharge tenants of the beach huts before they have even moved in. It would appear the Folkestone Parks and Pleasure Ground Charity would clearly be overcharging tenants of the beach huts to the tune of £41,250 over ten years according to their own published figures. This may not sound like much each year, but how many of you would like a £4,125 each year, for ten years?

Beach Huts 2 2018

Moving on, if the Council spend half the half million on installing the huts, they have approx £250,000 left to purchase 80 beach huts meaning the cost per huts works out at £3,125 on average.

Several reputable beach hut builders we spoke to said:

  • “For that price and quantity you aren’t going to get good quality.”

Now local residents, heritage groups and some Cllrs have expressed their concerns about the viability of wooden huts. Even with the best maintenance in the world, “its hard to imagine a wooden hut in 25 years time would be anything other that Triggers Broom.

As for the Corporate Director of Housing & Operations – Andy Blaskowicz – financial figures in Report C/19/37 clearly demonstrate, this is an employee who has been promoted through the Council hierarchy until he has reached his respective level of incompetence it would appear.

The Shepwayvox Team

Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful

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4 Comments on Beach Huts: Financial Irregularities & Incompetence

  1. A Former Beach Hut Tenant // January 10, 2020 at 08:34 // Reply

    You would have thought that the Corporate Director would have checked his figures a little better than he has. It’s clear as you say that the Cream has risen before it sours. Love the youtube clip, sums it up nicely.

  2. Will really miss our beach hut after 18 years and the friendly community of leaseholders – wonder how many will return ?

  3. Clydesdalestu // January 10, 2020 at 13:55 // Reply

    Just a quick note. I have no axe to grind in either direction, as I’m not moving to the area until April, so don’t know the politics, but coming form that industry, it really depends upon what material the huts are made from. If it’s Medite Tricoya Extreme, a fully sustainable, no added formaldehyde, naturally modified (acetylated) timber panel, they’ll still be there in 60 years almost certainly more. It has the same durability class as aged oak or plantation teak, and that hangs around for hundreds of years. They will only need re-coating for visual affect not protection (they could be left bare if needs be). It has proved very popular for beach huts and outdoor buildings in other areas. Timber technology has really moved on, so they may not be as fragile as you think. You could EASILY build a very high quality beach hut for £3,125. Just my two-penneth.

  4. doggerbank56 // January 13, 2020 at 12:38 // Reply

    Is this cock up symptomatic of deeper problems within the Council engendered by its over-reliance on contract/temporary staff?

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