Petition launched against town's beach huts

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 September 2015

Beach huts on Weston sea front.

Beach huts on Weston sea front.

Archant

A WESTON-SUPER-MARE man has lodged an official complaint to North Somerset Council about the location of the beach huts on the town's seafront - and has launched a petition calling for them to be removed.

Toby Blackburn claims the huts are in breach of planning permission because they are larger than the size of the huts approved by the council earlier this year.

He also believes there is insufficient access for wheelchair users in front of the huts.

Mr Blackburn’s petition calls for the council to either ‘remove or relocate’ the huts, and has gained 50 supporters in just a week.

The petition says the huts ‘obstruct views of the sea, limit access to the front of the promenade and halve the available width of the promenade’, which is designated for public use.

Mr Blackburn lodged the complaint against the council after measuring the huts himself.

He says the huts are more than 20 per cent larger than the figures approved by the authority, while the distance between the back of the huts and the kerb is said to be almost one metre shorter than the minimum seven metres of clearance the council stated the huts must have.

Mr Blackburn said: “Personally I am tired of seeing visitors feeling they must walk behind the huts regardless of whether they are in use or not, or staring at the huts in bemusement, as if to wonder why on earth they are dumped in the centre of the promenade.

“I am equally tired of having hut owners shake their heads at me or my children if I walk through the one-metre space they have intentionally left between themselves and their hut – and I’m not talking about forcing myself through a small gap here.”

Mr Blackburn went on to say his complaint to the council had left the authority in an ‘awkward’ position, where it was facing the prospect of taking legal action against itself.

He explained: “In conjunction with this – and much more importantly – I formally reported the council on Monday for being in breach of the planning conditions for the consent for the huts.

“Simply speaking, the council does not have permission to place huts of that size in that location, which means the siting of the beach huts is not legal.

“Essentially, the council now finds itself in the awkward position of having to decide whether to take enforcement action against itself.”

A council spokesman said: “We are looking into the planning issues which have been raised.”

To view Mr Blackburn’s petition, click here.

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