Beach hut owners are “outraged” at a proposed increase in fees which could see them pay thousands of pounds more.

Proposals to increase fees and charges for beach huts in Hove will be debated at a council meeting this week.

When owners sell their huts a transfer fee has to be paid – this is currently fixed at £82.

However, under new proposals anyone selling a hut could have to pay 10 per cent of the overall price.

Beach huts are typically sold for between £29,000 and £36,500, meaning the admin fee could be increased to as much as £3,650.

This is would represent an increase to the average transfer fee of more than 3,000 per cent.

The tourism, equalities, communities and culture committee is being asked to approve the plans on Thursday.

Beach hut owners have slammed the council, calling the proposals “outrageous”.

“I am incensed,” said Cathy Biggs, chairwoman of Hove Beach Hut Association.

“The proposed rise in the fee on sale of a beach hut is indefensible.

“It would also set a dangerous precedent for other property sales, leasehold flats for example. The council wants to cash in on an asset which it does not own, does nothing to maintain, and already receives a large net income from.”

“The council is trying to bully us into this.

“Beach hut owners are ordinary people who cannot afford these increases.”

Hove Beach Hut Association is encouraging all its members to write to the council to express their views on the proposals.

The association’s founder and Conservative Wish Ward councillor Robert Nemeth said:  “I founded the association in 2018 with the support of huge numbers of members to fight a very similar vindictive proposal from Labour and Greens.

“There is no provision in the licence agreement for a sales tax. There is an admin fee but to increase this by 3,000 per cent would require a new licence.”

He added: “Threatening hut owners with eviction if they do not accept the change is similar to the behaviour of the worst landlords out there and an obvious example of revenge eviction.

“If people support parties that believe in jealousy-based taxation then they inevitably get policies like this.”

Martin Osborne, councillor and chair of the committee debating the proposal Martin Osborne said: “No-one likes a price increase and it is getting more difficult to balance the books for non-essential services on an ever-tightening budget.

“More than 12 years of government cutbacks to our finances have seen over £100m wiped off our annual funding. This is despite the cost of providing our 700 services rising.

“The increases being proposed for these fees and charges are proportionate to the cost of providing them and offer value for money compared to those in similar seaside destinations.

“Price rises are inevitable and necessary if we are to safeguard the services and facilities we value for the future”.

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