Outrage at new chalet sell-off

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PEOPLE renting chalets in Scarborough’s North Bay were this week left outraged when they learned that a “significant” price hike in charges was planned for next year.

And, it also emerged that. 60 of the chalets will also be withdrawn from the rental sector to be sold off – each with an asking price of £36,000,

Next year’s radical review of the North Bay operation was unveiled in a letter which was sent by PRH Construction Services Ltd to customers who regularly rented the much sought after beach huts.

In the letter company director, Phil Hughes, said they were acting on behalf of Ryedale Estates Ltd which invested a substantial amount last year by building new chalets and significantly increasing security in the area.

He said: “In addition and in response to demand individuals were given the opportunity to own a chalet for the first time. At the same time the cost of operating the chalets increased significantly following the improvements put in place particularly due to increased security and the payment of rates.

“In response to these pressures Ryedale Estates, and their managing agents PRH Construction Services Ltd, are devising a plan for 2012 that will reflect the owner’s commitment to quality in this location.”

According to the letter:

• a total of 60 chalets would be withdrawn from the annual letting location and offered for sale

• out of the 60 any that were not sold would be offered for short term letting because they generate more income than those offered on an annual basis

• the annual fee for 2012 would be “significantly increased” to allow for the increased management costs and extra demand – these charges are due to be announced in due course

• ownership would be the top priority and be offered for sale at £36,000 including VAT

• owners would have to contribute towards the annual cost of management by paying various charges – including a service charges, insurance, ground rent and rates

• help would also be given to owners to let their chalets when they were not in use.

But the move sparked outrage when people received their letters this week because they feared the beach huts would become unaffordable.

Shaun Chapman, of Gladstone Road, said his wife was sent one of the letters and they were angry when they heard what was planned for next year. He added: “60 of the chalets are to be sold off, and the remaining are to have their letting fees substantially increased.

“We frequently hire beach chalets, but it seems to us that the North Bay is becoming an area where only the financially privileged can afford to go. This is nothing short of a disgrace.”

Janet Harding, who lives in Columbus Ravine and rents a chalet with a group of others, said this year’s annual rental cost was £800 and, when the new chalets were built, the developers promised that they would be kept for local residents to rent annually.

She added: “It’s just another service that’s been taken away from people. People can’t afford them anymore. It’s just going to go to rack and ruin.”

Rosemary Knight, of Lancaster Close in Scalby, said she was outraged by the news. She added: “There’s a couple who’ve just bought two behind us. They’ve got apartments in the Sands and they said they were going to buy up everything there was. This is what’s going to happen – people putting adverts in the paper saying ‘rent a beach hut for a week’.”

She added that there was a safe environment for her 11-year-old granddaughter to play with her friends because there was a sense of community among chalet users. She said: “She comes down, she’s got her mates, they have a wonderful time. They leave at the end of the day and they’ve fresh air – that’s what this bay particularly means to us.

“They are going to take this away from ordinary families that can’t afford £36,000. I’ll have to see if I can afford the new charges.”