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Statement: Hordle Cliff beach huts, 18 February 2019

Our coastal team have been regularly monitoring the beach and huts at Hordle Cliff following the recent and significant changes that have taken place as a result of the dynamic beach conditions. This has been done to enable us to inform beach hut owners of the changing conditions and to ensure the safety of anyone in the area. The stability of the huts is now deemed to be a significant risk and, due to the reduction in width of the beach and the unstable ground conditions, we have closed an area of the beach and notified owners of those huts affected that they need to remove them due to the safety concerns raised by both our coastal and building control teams.

Hordle Cliff beach huts February 2019 Whilst we of course sympathise with the people who have huts at this site, we have never given any assurances that the site would remain suitable for the purposes for which the licence was granted.  At this location the huts sit upon a shingle ridge at the top of the beach. The ridge is part of the naturally formed beach profile and can change at any time in response to wave conditions.  The undertaking of coast protection works at this location would not be viable due to the environmental constraints, lack of coast protection funding and the management policy for this section of coastline. Any interim works to provide protection to the huts would purely be anything other than a short-term measure and not could not be economically justified.

Beach hut owners were again advised in May 2018 that ongoing erosion was possible at this site at any time, which could further undermine the huts causing a safety issue. At that time hut owners were advised that we would intervene by fencing off any unsafe areas, and that it would then be the hut owners' responsibility for the timber buildings, and to make the huts safe. Hordle Cliff beach huts February 2019 4

This area is designated as an SSSI and is known to be vulnerable to storm damage after a number of huts sited at this location were destroyed in a storm in February 2014. The vulnerability of the site was highlighted in the original planning permission for the replacement huts with the hut owners, and in subsequent correspondence to hut owners, with the following text: 'The applicant should be aware that there is always an inherent risk to any beach hut located in this area from inundation by the sea or damage from ground movement. The Council will not undertake coastal protection works to protect beach huts'. 

Where applicable, a proportion of the licence fee will be refunded to those hut owners who have had restricted access or been required to remove their beach hut.

Hordle Cliff beach huts February 2019 3 Hordle Cliff beach huts February 2019 2 We would like to thank the hut owners for their understanding and what they are doing to safely remove the huts. 

Updated: 18 Feb 2019
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