Safety concerns close beach huts

Due to safety concerns, Waveney District Council and the Sentinel Leisure Trust have taken the decis

Due to safety concerns, Waveney District Council and the Sentinel Leisure Trust have taken the decision to close a number of chalets on Jubilee Parade in Lowestoft. Pictures: MICK HOWES - Credit: Archant

About 50 beach huts dating back to the 1930s have been closed ahead of the busy summer season in Lowestoft because of safety issues.

The beach huts, below Kensington Gardens, provide a colourful backdrop to a stroll along the lower promenade for locals and visitors.

But this week they were cordoned off with fencing after engineers raised concerns about their structural safety.

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said they and Sentinel Leisure Trust – which manages leisure facilities in the district on behalf of Waveney – had taken the decision to close a number of the brick-built chalets on Jubilee Parade 'due to safety concerns'.

Last month, Waveney asked engineers to inspect one chalet where 'concerns regarding structural integrity' were raised.

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This inspection led to a number of 'additional issues' which meant that an assessment of all chalets – numbered 1-13 and 22-58 – was carried out.

During this further inspection it was found there had been 'significant deterioration' of the condition of the chalets, and the structural engineers' report said immediate and further work must be undertaken.

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A council spokesman said: 'This means that the chalets will no longer be accessible during the year 2016/17 and Sentinel is now writing to all leaseholders.'

Stephen Ardley, Waveney's cabinet member for operational partnerships, said: 'It is extremely disappointing that we must take this course of action; however we have been left with no alternative.

'The wellbeing of leaseholders is our absolute priority and we will not take any chances where safety is concerned. Naturally, anyone who has taken out a lease for the year 2016/17 will be fully repaid and options for alternative accommodation will be explored.'

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