New beach huts could be coming to Worthing’s seafront after a council review found a significant and increasing level of demand.
There are 676 people on the waiting list to rent a council-owned beach hut, representing a 90 per cent increase since March 2015 when there were 377 on the list.
The average waiting time for those on the list to obtain a hut is 7.5 years.
While a study has identified potential sites for up to 166 new beach huts a phased approach to increase supply is recommended.
Proposals would see an extra £317,000 made available for Worthing Borough Council to purchase and install new beach huts.
Phase one would see 32 new council-owned beach huts available to rent between Esplanade Court and Clarence Court and eight new locations for private beach huts east of King George V Avenue to the Sea Lane Cafe.
Planning permission would need to be secured before any building starts.
The plans are due to be scrutinised by the council’s joint strategic committee next Tuesday (October 9).
There are currently 129 council-owned beach huts available for annual rent in Worthing between west of Heene Road and east of King George V Avenue.
Meanwhile there are 289 privately owned huts for which an annual licence fee is charged by the council.
On plans for the 32 new beach huts, a report from council officers said: “This location previously had beach huts installed until they were destroyed in the great storm of 1987. It is not known why they were not replaced immediately after the storm.
“The proposed inclusion of new beach huts in this location would add to the growing vibrancy in this area, adding to East Beach Artist Collective, Splash Pad water feature and Splashpoint Leisure Centre.
“Our technical services colleagues have reviewed the specification of the beach huts previously installed and are recommending that a higher specification beach hut be provided. This will specifically address maintenance issues arising for existing beach huts, whilst moving forward our provision.
“The higher specification proposed would lead to increased build costs, however, this option presents overall better value for money for the council and our residents who wish to rent the huts as they will be of a higher quality, and provide a better return on investment as they will require less ongoing maintenance, certainly in the early years.
“If approved, it is proposed to offer these new beach huts to the people at the top of the current waiting list.”
They explained how in 2013 six planning applications were submitted for a total of 57 beach huts along Worthing’s promenade.
Permission was granted for five opposite the Esplanade and 20 opposite West Parade, but the remaining applications were withdrawn due to objections from nearby residents.
These permissions have now expired.