Bude’s beach hut holders are up in arms after a recent notification about a hike in prices. From 2020 (spring):
A small hut now costs £900.
Medium costs £1235
The large one costs £1700
One user said: Ours has gone up from £865.20 to £900 this year (Medium huts are now £1235 and large huts are £1700). When we first got one in April 2017 it was £700.so that’s an increase of £200 in three years, which if my maths is correct, is an outrageous 28.5%. Seriously considering letting it go … It’s a crying shame, as they are lovely to use in the summer. I’m guessing it’s an easy way to make a few bob for the council but 28.5% is a bit much…
A number of huts are unused and some are rented out by the day or week during high season. People are aware that the huts are owned by Cornwall Council but that Bude TIC administers them.
Clare at Bude TIC says: The small and medium huts have increased by 3-4% on last years prices, there is only 1 large hut and this has increased by 20% but it is a very large hut. We manage the huts under a Service Level Agreement for Cornwall Council so don’t set the prices. If people are finding the increase too much this year we would do our best to offer them a smaller hut to make it more affordable. We have sent the new agreements out now even though payment isn’t due for 4 months so that people have as much time as possible to budget for the increase.
Mark from Bude TIC adds:
Bude Beach Huts certainly do create some emotive conversations! They are loved by so many people (yet hated by others)… I think (but can’t be sure) that there will always be a 3-4% annual increase in prices. I know the huts in Bude are quite basic and don’t have electricity or water like they do in others coastal towns, but I am conscious that the annual fee in Bude is lower than many other areas. The increase for small and medium huts is 3.7%, rounded up from £897.21 to £900 or £1,223.67 to £1235.The price increase for the one large beach hut is 21% – but I think its now more inline with the prices of the small and medium huts. It’s certainly worth £465 more than the medium huts.
The huts are certainly not cheap, so I always send the renewal information to hut users early (the renewal date is end of March 2020) so people have plenty of time to decide if the cost is viable. There have been instances in the past where we have allowed split payments, but it really didn’t work. We had to chase people to make the payments and we simply don’t have the time or the wage budget to spend multiple hours chasing money. I am also conscious that chasing money and sending letters demanding money is not a nice thing to do, and ruins the friendly attitude we try our best to convey.
The Service Level Agreement we have with Cornwall Council has strict terms, but the financial income we gain is extremely important. The TIC would not be open all year without the small booking commissions we receive from the daily rentals and the admin fee for the annual rentals. If we were to set the prices, I would base them on size and location (with huts in less desirable locations costing less than those in prime positions) – but we don’t! When users renew the hut agreement, people often say they are expensive and may not renew in the future – but we’ve never had a formal complaint to pass on to Cornwall Council and I’m not aware of any users declining the renewal because of the cost alone.