St Leonards beach hut renters call on council to clear shingle

A couple who have a beach hut in St Leonards have criticised Hastings Borough Council for not ‘meeting their responsibilities’ after refusing to clear shingle in front of huts.

Eric and Patricia Landamore, who rent a beach hut in West Marina, said shingle has created severe access issues for hut users.

Mr Landamore said: “The frontage of single row of beach huts hasn’t been cleared since winter tides threw the beach up onto the concrete frontage. I’ve managed to clear a small area in front of our hut, but at 75 years old I found it extremely difficult,”

“The hut tenants in our row alone all paid £1,396 in full at the beginning of the year, therefore the council has received thousands of pounds in rent in advance of the start of the season. An annual clearance has been carried out every year by the council since we became hut tenants and we are anxious to know when this work will be completed for the year in hand.

Eric and Patricia Landamore, who rent a beach hut in West Marina, St Leonards, said that shingle has created severe access issues for hut tenants, and has called on the council to resolve this.

“We feel strongly that they have not met their responsibilities to the tenants of West Marina Beach Huts over the past 18 months particularly, with several huts needing attention.”

Mrs Landamore added: “It makes life very difficult for the people that are paying rent to be able to access the huts, even more so for anyone who is disabled. We have disabled family members and we can’t get them here at all.

"We’ve raised the issue but the council won’t even reply to us. The only thing we’ve heard is that they can’t afford £400 for the digger to come and clear.”

Hastings Borough Council said the annual clearance was carried out in service of coastal protection and is not merited in this case.

Hastings Borough Council argues that the annual clearance is carried out in service of coastal protection and is not merited in this case.

A council spokesperson said: “We do usually carry out annual beach recycling works, but this is a coastal protection function rather than an amenity one. The works we do are generally east, towards Hastings town centre, where the flooding risk is the greatest and more stones are moved by winter storms.

“We have, at times, carried out some minor work at the West Marina end if needed. However, these works have only taken place once in the last five years.”

The council said it will not ‘add or remove shingle’ from the West Marina end of the beach, saying all units are free of obstruction.

The spokesperson said: “The huts are on the upper beach, as such there is shingle in front of them and around them. The height and lay of this can vary because of season, weather, and tides . However, all of the units remain free of obstruction, people can get to their hut and open their doors without issue. We currently have no plans to carry out any work to change the profile of the beach or to add or remove shingle.”

The council further stated that they won’t ‘add or remove shingle’ from the West Marina end of the beach, arguing that all of the units remain free of obstruction.

Mr Landamore said: “We have to disagree with the historic reference to the work only being carried out once in the past five years. Having checked with other tenants we would contradict this statement as incorrect.”