'Marmite' beach huts supported despite disability concerns
- Credit: Chaplin Farrant Ltd
Controversial beach hut plans for Lowestoft seafront have been backed by town councillors, despite their "Marmite" design.
Lowestoft Town Council's planning and environment committee discussed the plans for 72 new huts on Jubilee Parade, which have split opinion among locals for their design, during a meeting held online on Tuesday evening, April 13.
The "two desk construction" will see 35 beach huts for market sale on the upper level, while the remaining 37 will be kept by East Suffolk Council for lease.
Dozens of comments had been submitted in response to the plans, with some labelling the designs as "hideous" while others say they're "beautiful", but councillor Andy Pearce raised other concerns.
He said: "I'm not going to comment on the design because I think everything that needs to be said, for and against, has been and it's like marmite. You either like it or you don't.
"We are replacing 58 huts with 72, and, while I understand the old ones had to come down for safety reasons, I am disappointed that, when they had the opportunity to build something new, only six of those are configured for disabled access.
"I can understand such a small ratio if you were converting existing buildings, but when you are building from the ground up I think that's a pretty poor ratio.
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"All six are on the bottom, for rent, and I think it has been maximised for income generation rather than for community access."
Councillor Amanda Frost, who also voted against the plans, said: "I really cannot decide where I stand on it. I appreciate both arguments, but it is not my personal opinion that matters.
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"My understanding, from the large number of people I have spoken to, is the people of Kirkley who I was voted by to represent are more against it than are in favour.
"I can see the fact it is great to have a new design, but this is a conservation area and we are a traditional resort."
The plans were, however, recommended for approval by a vote of five to two, with councillors requesting a 10pc provision for disabled access on both the upper and lower levels.
Councillor Jacqueline Hardy said: "I think it's a modern take on a beach hut.
"I don't think we need to always recreate the past and there is an opportunity to juxtapose modern with the past and still create something that would be interesting and attractive and an addition to the area."
Mayor of Lowestoft Alan Green said: "We are a tourist area and the quicker we can get people back to Lowestoft and spending here, the better."
A final decision on the plans will be made by East Suffolk Council's northern planning committee at a later date.