Published: 08:50, 29 January 2020
The soon-to-be demolished beach huts on Folkestone seafront are now empty...after tenants were told to remove their belongings this month.
The locks have also been removed from the chalets by Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) in "order to improve security".
Instead the authority has screwed the doors of the huts shuts to keep people out while they work on plans to regenerate the coastline along Marine Walk.
This includes tearing down some of the existing huts and replacing them with wooden ones, while renovating some of the remaining ones.
Other work will be carried out to the nearby coastal park, such as improving grass banks and walkways.
Funding to the amount of £5000,000 for this ambitious scheme has already been approved and FHDC are now in the process of gaining planning permission for the design.
This stage is currently "continuing", the council says, and has yet to be revealed to the public.
A FHDC spokesman said: “The leases came to an end on January 5 and tenants were asked to remove their belongings and hand back the chalets ready for works to commence.
"The huts have been screwed shut and secured by the council since in order to improve security."
The chalets are currently owned by the Folkestone Parks and Pleasure Ground (FPPG) charity, which is made up of members of FHDC's cabinet.
The charity first revealed its plans for Marine Walk in September 2019, much to the chagrin of the tenants.
Initially it was revealed that 58 of the existing 74 beach huts - which are in a state of repair - along the promenade would be demolished, and the remaining 16 would be renovated.
A further 120 wooden ones are to be added, resulting in a total of 136 beach huts along the promenade.
A predicted financial model for the scheme shows over its lifetime of 25 years it could see a proposed return of £2,715,000.
But these numbers and plans might now alter following the intervention of councillors at a full council meeting last year who argued to retain a higher number of the existing huts.
Concerns were also raised over the viability of wooden ones.
But Cllr Monk, leader of FHDC, said the plans were "not set in stone" and said the number to be retained could change.
It is not known when the full planning application for the project will be submitted.