Published: 06:00, 25 September 2021
Ninety-four beach huts are set to be added to the Herne Bay coastline - with councillors expecting them to give neglected parts of the town a much-needed boost.
Canterbury City Council has been given the green light to plans to build 84 shelters in East Cliff, and 10 more earmarked for Western Esplanade.
The cash-strapped local authority had drawn up the schemes as part of a money-making bid to restore its Covid-hit coffers.
At a planning committee meeting earlier this month, Beltinge councillor Ian Stockley said the 84 huts earmarked for his ward would give the ailing area an injection of cash.
“These huts have been long awaited,” the Conservative stated.
“Residents and businesses are all bar one person in favour.
“The whole area is, and was, a very popular part of Herne Bay. It’s been sadly neglected recently.
“The local businesses would value the footfall this development would bring.”
The authority wants to add the 10 structures in Western Esplanade to a line of huts below Albany Drive.
Meanwhile, the dozens planned for East Cliff will be built to the east of Herne Bay Sailing Club in phases over three years.
The schemes were two of three beach hut projects put forward by the city council last year, as part of attempts to plug its financial black hole.
The last of these was a bid to squeeze 20 structures between two lines of shelters off Marine Parade in Tankerton.
While the Herne Bay proposals were given the go ahead, the Whitstable scheme was turned down after sparking a huge public backlash.
The project had attracted 95 objections from residents concerned it would could cause parking issues and a rise in the number of rats on the beach.
One councillor was also worried the existing huts could lose their place as some of the most photographed on Instagram.
Tankerton Tory Neil Baker told the committee: “These are unique huts.
“If you do add 20 that all look the same, you’re taking away from what makes that part attractive and what it is that brings photographers from all parts of the country to take pictures.
“These beach huts are among the most photographed on Instagram in the world.
“In future, does 20 huts wedged in there lead to more at the back, more at the sides?”
Labour councillor Alan Baldock also argued that the development would “destroy the whole view and feel of that area”, adding that he sees no logic to the plans.