Iconic beach huts should be available to book 'all year round'

The only beach huts on Northumberland’s picturesque coastline should be available to book all year round.

By James Robinson
Monday, 28th March 2022, 9:00 am
The beach huts at Blyth.
The beach huts at Blyth.

That’s the view of the Northumberland county councillor for Croft.

The use of Blyth’s iconic 20 beach huts was restricted during the coronavirus lockdown, with only those who had secured long-term lets able to use them.

However, last month Active Northumberland confirmed it would bring back daily rentals after more than 1,000 people signed a petition calling for the policy to return, claiming the restrictions meant most of the community was unable to enjoy them.

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Despite a joint statement from Blyth’s Labour councillors welcoming the news at the end of February, Coun Kath Nisbet has now said more needs to be done to ensure the beach huts can be used by townspeople.

At the Ashington and Blyth Local Area Council, a letter from council officers revealed that Active Northumberland would be returning to what it called pre-pandemic rules around the huts.

The statement said: “Active Northumberland had not made a formal decision on the availability of the beach huts for daily rental due to the considerations regarding the national Covid-19 situation.

“I can now confirm that the beach huts will be available for daily rental this summer on the same basis as pre-pandemic.

"The officers liaised with Active Northumberland and they have confirmed that the beach huts have only ever been available for hire during June, July, and August.”

But Coun Nisbet disputed that and said the huts had previously been used all year round.

She said: “It is still a concern because they are saying they are only used in June, July and August. The thing is they used to be rented daily all year round – you had disabled users, parties for children. It was a valuable asset to Blyth Valley Council.

“These huts were built for the people of Blyth and they were used on a daily basis. Now I’m finding there’s only six are allocated (to be rented) on a daily basis, which to me is wrong.

“They’re now getting them for a yearly rental which I don’t think is fair, because if you try to book up for one day you’re not getting them because they’re booked up.

“I’m still a bit annoyed that they’re only booked on June, July and August – I think they should be allowed to be booked all year round.”

Speaking after the meeting, Coun Nisbet said the cost of hiring out one of the huts for a year was around £1,200. Daily costs currently stand at £40.

She added: “It seems as though they’re excluding the less fortunate. People should be allowed to rent them for a day.”

A spokesperson for Active Northumberland said: “Active Northumberland has managed Blyth Beach Huts for the past eight years.

"During this time, five of the huts have been hired out at a daily rent during the summer months of June, July and August. The remainder have been booked out on longer term lets.

“We have found this mix of rental options has provided a good balance for local residents and regular visitors, helping to ensure that the huts are fully booked throughout the year, thereby generating a constant income to pay for their upkeep, cleaning and maintenance.”