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Milford-on-Sea beach huts and seafront improvement scheme ready for summer

colourful doors Milford Our project to replace 119 beach huts and improve the seafront at Milford-on-Sea has been completed.

Our deputy chief executive Colin Read presented the first beach hut key to hut owner Colin Holdsworth of the New Forest Beach Hut Owners' Association on Tuesday 16 May.

Colin Read said "I am delighted to be welcoming the beach hut owners and the public back to Milford beach over the next few weeks to enjoy what we all hope will be a beautiful summer in this gorgeous location. I am proud that the council has been able to make the best of the unexpected opportunity to improve Milford's seafront for everyone. I am sure the improvements will encourage more visitors and benefit the village and the New Forest coast as a whole."

He continued: "It is a particular pleasure to hand the keys to Colin Holdsworth.  As the representative of the Milford Beach Hut Owners Association on our project board, Colin has made a significant contribution to the vision for the seafront, along with Milford Parish Council."

The scheme:

After the original 1960s terraced concrete beach huts were severely damaged in a huge storm on Valentine's Day 2014, New Forest District Council agreed to replace the beach huts and also use the opportunity to improve Milford's seafront.

The new beach huts have been built in the same location along the top of the beach as the old huts but occupy a slightly smaller footprint, providing improved views of the Isle of Wight from around the Needles Eye CafĂ©. They are constructed of concrete in four terraces and set back into the upper promenade to reduce their exposure to the elements. Larger gaps between the terraces allow for better access to the beach. The promenade in front of the huts has been widened, improving access along the lower promenade.

A walkway with handrails has been installed along the tops of the beach huts, with connecting bridges between each terrace, enabling pedestrians to walk the full length and enjoy the spectacular Solent views from an elevated position. Steps up to the rooftop walkway from the rear upper promenade double as extra seating for visitors.

A galvanised steel ramp now curves around the World War II pillbox at the western end of the site and concrete ramps have been installed to give wheelchair users and pushchairs access to both promenades.

Construction techniques more common to civil engineering projects were employed to create structures designed to withstand the conditions. Pre-cast concrete sections form the body of the huts. The design is softened by concrete front panels featuring a range of coastal-inspired designs from pebbles to Keyhaven River and the Needles. A new sea wall has been incorporated into the rear of the huts to improve the coastal defences.

Design development

The project was managed by a project team made up of NFDC councillors and officers along with representatives of Milford Parish Council and the New Forest Beach Hut Owners' Association.

Engineering consultancy Ramboll UK Ltd led the design development of the scheme, appointing Totton-based Snug architects. Design ideas were shared with the public and their views taken into consideration when the project team selected the preferred design.

Damian Westlake of Ramboll UK Ltd, who led the design team said "We were delighted to have the opportunity to design and supervise this interesting and challenging scheme. The design started with an aspiration to enhance the waterfront, provide robust beach huts and meet the needs of beach hut users, local people and visitors. Through close working with NFDC, project stakeholders and latterly with Raymond Brown Construction Ltd, we believe that the new beach huts and promenade areas have been designed and constructed in a way that fully realises this aspiration."

Following design development and public feedback the scope of the scheme expanded to include improving the public areas around the beach huts, which resulted in an increase in the original budget which had been based on like for like replacement.

Raymond Brown Construction of Ringwood, began construction in September 2016 and completed the build on schedule. Kevin Valentine, Divisional Director for Raymond Brown Construction said: "It has been a pleasure to work with New Forest District Council on this project. Our team has worked diligently to deliver the scheme in time for the summer season and fully in line with expectations. I know we are all proud of the end result and hope the community and visitors alike will enjoy the new facilities".

A budget of £1.26million was allocated in 2014 for the like for like replacement of 119 beach huts at Milford-on-Sea. The scheme expanded to include improvements to the public areas around the huts, resulting in a total investment in the seafront and 119 replacement beach huts of £2.36million. This includes £430,000 contributed to the rebuild costs by the owners of the 119 beach huts.

Published: 16 May 2017
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