Couple chop off back of beach hut in protest at £100 rent rise

Couple chop off back of beach hut in protest at £100 rent rise

The owners of a beach hut in Felixstowe decided to take drastic action in protest against a 12% rent rise - by sawing off the back of it.

Alan Sarfas used a mechanical saw to cut 18in (46cm) off the hut, located in Suffolk. He said the action would mean he pays £616 a year instead of £787 as the rents are based on hut size.

According to the BBC, around 100 beach hut owners were told at a protest meeting that the Suffolk Coastal District Council would not be making a U-turn on rent increases.

Alan, 57, and his partner, Barbara Grace, 62, thought the price increase for their 10ft by 8ft hut overlooking the North Sea was unfair, so they took action to avoid paying it.

Couple chop off back of beach hut in protest at £100 rent rise

Ms Grace told the Daily Mail: "I am having to get used to the hut being a little smaller it, but it is worth it as we will not have to pay the council so much.

"The rent for huts at Felixstowe has doubled since we bought ours nine years ago and it is far higher than other local towns.

"It started leaping up three years ago and the latest 12 per cent increase is obscene.

"We want to draw attention to how the council is making a fortune out of us and all the other beach hut owners.

"Nobody would have questioned an increase in line with inflation."

The couple, who bought the hut for £2,000, spent around £270 downsizing their place, but added that it would be worth it in the long-term. They use it daily between May and November, and regularly head there in the winter to sip soup and play games.

Couple chop off back of beach hut in protest at £100 rent rise

Ms Grace added: "I know people will think that cutting up our hut is an extreme measure - but we do not see why we should pay so much. We have done it out of principle.

"We know of a lady aged 84 who has had a hut here for 40 years, but she is having to give it up because she cannot afford the latest increase.

"The cost of the chopping the end of the hut means we will not be saving money this year, but by next year we will not be paying so much."

Ms Grace said the council works out the rent through a sliding scale depending on the floor area of each hut, and said it goes up around £10 for every tenth of a square metre.

A Suffolk Coastal District Council spokesman said it was up to each of the 1,000 beach hut owners in Felixstowe to decide the size of their huts.

Geoff Holdcroft, the council's cabinet member for economic development and leisure, said he believed the rents were still "value for money".

He told the Daily Mail: "We are in tough financial times and need to generate enough income to ensure that we can still provide our free services such as our public toilets and rubbish collection and street cleansing that visitors to our tourist attractions such as Felixstowe are receiving."

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Couple chop off back of beach hut in protest at £100 rent rise

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