Historic Suffolk beach huts under threat in Felixstowe as council wants to move them

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Victoria Lampard

Come rain or shine, the beach huts along the prom at Felixstowe in Suffolk offer a sanctuary to their owners.

For Caroline Sturman it was a place to recover from breast cancer, for novelist Ruth Dugdall it has offered inspiration for her books and for Sarah Caddick who has ME, it's somewhere to rest in between trips to the town.

They are among a group who are taking legal action to try to stop East Suffolk Council from removing their huts along the seafront by the Spa Pavilion.

Ms Caddick said: "If I lost my hut totally as at the moment some people are going to do, that will just change my life so much."

Ms Sturman told ITV News Anglia: "Even if we were to be re-sited, that would feel uncomfortable knowing that some of our fellow hut owners had got nowhere to go. So really it's much bigger than just us."

For Ms Dugdall, the plans have much wider implications. "For me, what I feel I'm fighting for isn't actually this hut, it's for the heritage of the area," she said.

Sarah Caddick says losing her hut on Felixstowe seafront would change her life so much Credit: ITV News Anglia

The owners of Felixstowe's historic beach huts have lodged a judicial review to try to save them. Campaigners say some have stood there for more than 100 years and attract visitors to the town.

Beach hut owners were told in February their licences would be terminated at the current location.

New sites have since been found for 30 of the huts. The remaining 14 owners face losing theirs completely.

Julie Downton of the Felixstowe Beach hut and Chalet Association said they wanted to cooperate with the authority.

"People are willing to pay into anything," he said. "Having beach replenishment, having platforms put onto the beach, they just desperately want to stay in this location."

East Suffolk Council says the location of the beach huts was only ever temporary and they need to move Credit: ITV News Anglia

Every winter since 1945, the huts have been taken off the beach and placed on the prom enade.

However, they were moved there permanently in 2018 after erosion meant they could no longer stay on the shore for safety reasons.

East Suffolk Council said it was always temporary solution because they cause disruption to other visitors. It says it has explored all reasonable options, including beach platforms.

Campaigners are still keen to go into mediation to avoid court proceedings.

Some of the beach huts would be moved to another locations and some would be removed altogether Credit: ITV News Anglia

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