Beach huts should be left alone
- Credit: Archant
Summer's arrived. Well it did for a couple of days. Then the wind went back round to the east and we were searching for thick sweaters again.
But a visit to the coast, cup of tea and fish and chips are back on the agenda, for there's nothing like a walk along the prom in summer to remind you that this part of Britain can't be beaten.
Well in the summer it can't; February on Sheringham seafront with the wind full of sleet blowing in from the Arctic isn't to be recommended.
Many take it a stage further and while not buying a second home they set up camp in a beach hut, a sort of day care centre for the elderly and kids, many little more than glorified wind breaks.
Beach huts are wonderful. They provide privacy for somewhere to change if you fancy a swim in the sea, a place for the elderly to sit and read the papers and gaze at the grey sea.
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And many a holiday romance has blossomed when teenagers sneak the beach hut key late at night and meet to cement a holiday romance over a bottle of cider.
These huts are of the simplest of designs. A few pieces of wood, canvas sides and door, wooden roof, and they are regularly battered by winter storms so that a refurbishment in the spring is all part of the ritual.
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But now, horror of horrors, designers have got their claws into the humble hut. Channel 4 has launched a competition to find the best designer beach hut, and if that doesn't make you cringe nothing will.
Beach huts used to be the little bit of seaside luxury for the working family, their nod to the neighbours that they'd started to mount society's greasy pole. One step away from a caravan.
Inside they had a musty scent which even the North Sea gales couldn't expunge, scruffy, sandy, linoleum-covered floors and rickety canvas chairs.
Now they have attracted the attention of trendy designers, heaven knows how they will end up.
Already many are well beyond the reach of ordinary folk, just take a look at the prices those on Southwold seafront fetch, enough to buy a small Norwich flat, although the colourful, regimented expressions of super-wealth do add to the charm of that beautiful little town.
These designer beach huts are to be sited at Highcliffe in Dorset. But what will they add?
Would you like to see these confections spring up at Mundesley? Or how about siting them at Brancaster or Old Hunstanton? The mega wealthy would have a fit.
Beach huts are utilitarian, part of the British seaside town landscape and should be left unfettered by trendy paint or crow's nests 'features' or any other frippery designers can dream up.
If they are anything like the designer gardens soon to be on display at the Chelsea Flower Show they should be resisted at all costs.