Published: 05:00, 23 October 2021
More than 1,000 people are expected to fight it out in the battle to snap up new beach huts in Herne Bay.
The green light was given last month to build 94 of the popular shelters across two sites in the town, with the first batch set to be ready by the spring.
Bosses at the cash-strapped city council, which is leading the developments, hope to recoup £1.5 million from the scheme as they look to replenish their Covid-hit finances.
And there is expected to be fierce competition among potential buyers, with huge numbers expressing an interest in owning a beach hut.
Conservative councillor Andrew Cook, who also chairs the town’s hut owners’ association, says the structures will hit the market as asking prices continue to soar.
“There are so many local people that want them, and everything’s being sold very quickly at the moment,” the Heron ward representative said.
“Even in Canterbury, people have pictures of beach huts on their office walls.
“They can make up to £30,000. Prior to the pandemic the average price was about £17,000.
“I reckon, if they’re marketed well, as soon you build [a new batch of huts], there will be someone to jump into them.”
Ten of the buildings will be added to a line of huts in Western Esplanade – which Cllr Cook describes as the most desirable location in the area.
Drawings show 84 more are set to be constructed to the east of Herne Bay Sailing Club in phases over three years.
Council spokesman Rob Davies says the first to be installed will be the 10 in Hampton. This will be followed by the first phase of the second set of proposals, which will see 28 built.
“Work on the recently approved beach huts will start in the new year and are expected to be ready for sale on the open market in March 2022,” he told KentOnline.
“Beach huts are extremely popular and we anticipate a high level of demand.
"We have a list of more than 1,000 people who have expressed an interest in owning a hut.
"The asking price of the new huts is yet to be decided but they will be sold for the market value at the time.”
The last of these was a bid to squeeze 20 structures between two lines of shelters off Marine Parade in Tankerton.
But the Whitstable bid was snubbed by councillors last month, prompting the authority to take it back to the drawing board.
Mr Davies says the authority is considering submitting an application for a smaller scheme at an alternative site in Tankerton.