At the recent Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee Labour had success with our amendment to the recommendations in the officer report on Beach Chalets letting policy.
There has been a long-standing argument that too many beach chalets are let out on an indefinite term agreement – and this has meant that many people have been on the chalet waiting list for as many as 15 years, with the list often closed to new applicants.
The officer recommendations weren’t going to change anything except not allowing people who didn’t live in Brighton and Hove to keep their indefinite agreement chalets.
So, Labour put in an amendment recommending that the indefinite agreements were phased out over the next 5 years, a position supported by a majority of respondents to the council’s recent consultation on beach chalets.
The Tories wished to see a phasing out over the next 10 years rather than our 5, but we were able to compromise and bring forward a joint amendment that asked for a phase out period of 8 years. This compromise at least meant we could end indefinite leases and that the beach chalets could eventually benefit a greater number of people.
The Greens voted against phasing out the indefinite use chalets, essentially supporting the few and not the many, as a resident who spoke at the meeting put it.
The Labour-led amendment also looked to speed up the identification of locations for additional beach huts and chalets, including less well-visited parts of the seafront to help regenerate those areas, in particular the east area of the Palace Pier.
Labour’s Opposition Spokesperson for Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture, Amanda Evans proposed the amendment, saying:
“There’s obviously no appetite among the general population, who have expressed an interest, in having indefinite leases and we should be looking to phase them out.
“We also think it would be a lovely idea to have one or more available for short-term community lettings.”
Labour are pleased to have successfully changed council policy to phase out indefinite leases and open up the opportunity to lease a beach chalet to more residents across the city going forward.
This builds on Labour’s positive work on beach huts and chalets, after our motion to Full Council in October gained cross-party support.
That motion called on officers to explore options to finance the building of additional beach huts and chalets to rent or to purchase across the city, including in less well-visited parts to help with regeneration and footfall for local businesses. We also gained support for identifying how beach huts and chalet income east of Palace Pier could support the regeneration of Madeira Terraces, within our motion to Full Council.
Image: Creative Commons