Boss blames increased costs for massive beach hut rent rise

Beach huts at the South Beach, Hunstanton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Beach huts at the South Beach, Hunstanton, where rents are set to rise sharply - Credit: Denise Bradley

A holiday park boss has defended imposing a massive rent rise on beach hut owners, blaming the increasing costs of running his business.

Last year families on the 4Shores site at Hunstanton paid £550 or £570 in ground rent.

But now owners have been told they will be charged £925 or £975 for the 2022 season.

A letter from 4Shores Developments Ltd says: "The rental increase is intended to reflect the increasing value of the beach huts themselves. £20,000 plus seems to be becoming the norm.

Beach huts at the South Beach, Hunstanton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

4-Shore Developments, which owns the site, says its costs have increased sharply - Credit: Denise Bradley

"We endeavor to maintain and develop the park to a high standard, and therefore it is fair the beach hut owners make their contribution to these costs."

But one owner said: "They’re trying to justify this massive price hike by saying the huts are now worth more.

"I don’t see what that has got to do with anything as the rent pays for grass mowing and maintenance of the toilets.

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"Many of us there have a  Beach Hut as it was left to us by family members as an inheritance. I feel very lucky that I have a hut  there but I have to save up all year to pay for the rent, which has now gone up by 70pc."

While huts belong to their owners 4Shores owns the plots they stand on and charges rent.

Beach huts at the South Beach, Hunstanton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Beach huts on the 4Shores site at Hunstanton - Credit: Denise Bradley

4Shores director Mike McDonnell said owners could reduce the amount they paid to £914 or £868 if they settled up before VAT increases from 12.5 to 20pc on April 1. Hut owners enjoyed a rent reduction in 2021 after VAT was cut to 5pc.

"Our business rates go up every year, " he said. "We're providing showers, hot water, toilets, we do the ground maintenance," Mr McDonnell added.

"We're looking at substantial cost increases to do the same maintenance and my staff will be expecting a pay rise.

"We're not about to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, but we've got to reflect our costs in what we charge."

Mr McDonnell said the price of beach huts had increased sharply from around £5,000 when he took on the business in 2009 to today's levels, adding: "Part of that increase has got to be down to the location and the facilities we provide."

A hut on the 4Shores site is on the market for £15,900. One in nearby Old Hunstanton is on sale for £55,000.

Prices at Wells are even higher, with one beach property on the market for £80,000.