Agenda Item No. 6
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 8 MARCH 2016
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 22 FEBRUARY 2016
C3092 Barry Island Beach Huts (VLS) (Scrutiny Committee - Economy and Environment) –
Cabinet was updated on the Policy and rental arrangements for the 24 beach huts located at Barry Island and reviewed a range of options for the future letting and management of these units.
A report was considered by Cabinet on 16 June, 2014 in respect to the rental policy and arrangements for the Barry Island Beach Huts (Minute Number C2338 refers). This followed consideration of the matter by the Council's Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) on 20 May, 2014. A copy of the existing beach hut Policy was attached at Appendix A to the report. The Policy covered rental charges and seasonal operating hours. The small beach huts were charged at £15 per day in the autumn / winter and £20 per day in the spring / summer. The larger huts were rented at £30 per day in autumn / winter and £40 per day in the spring / summer. Following an officer review of the Policy at the end of May 2015 the Policy was amended to allow beach huts to be booked for half days.
The beach huts had been available for rental since Easter 2015. Bookings were generally taken over the telephone via the Council's Contact Centre (C1V). There had been 233 bookings made for the beach huts from Easter 2015 to 10 February, 2016 generating £8026 of income.
There was a need to consider options for how the beach huts were managed going forward. It was imperative that everyone continued to have the opportunity to rent a beach hut at an affordable rate and that occupancy of the beach huts was maximised all year round. The Council also had to cover the running cost of the beach huts and also put aside some finance to cover any necessary future repairs and refurbishment.
There were a number of options for the management of the beach huts going forward which were outlined and considered in the report. The first option was to continue with the current beach hut policy. The second option was to lease some or all of the beach huts either annually or for a longer period of time. A third option was to amend the current beach hut Policy to allow for the purchase of weekly, monthly and annual season tickets for some of the beach huts.
The report suggested that the three options outlined above be considered further and any decisions made be informed by user and potential user surveys which would enable officers to effectively engage with existing and potential future users of the beach huts. A fourth option which could be implemented immediately for the 2016 summer season was to include the beach huts within the coastal concessions for Barry Island.
Cabinet would be able to take a decision as to the best way forward for the packaged services including management of the beach huts when the concession tenders were received. If this did not offer the most cost effective arrangement then the arrangements could remain unaltered for another season (2016) pending consideration of the options set at above.
After presenting this item, the Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services highlighted that after discussing the report, it was decided to pursue recommendations 1 and 5 of the report to ensure that all options could be considered by the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) before the matter was brought back to Cabinet.
At the meeting, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration noted that the Beach Huts had accrued a small monetary loss alongside a large amount of publicity and media interest in comparison to the financial reports also on the agenda that covered over two hundred million pounds and had not attracted much attention. She looked forward to engaging the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) in the discussions.
The Leader commented that the Beach Huts were in the first year of operation and had helped regenerate the area and increase visitor footfall. He was looking forward to considering all options for future management and by sending the report to Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment), this would involve Members in the important discussion.
In agreement with her colleagues, the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety added that sending the report to Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) would allow everyone to discuss options for the Beach Huts, and there were potentially more than the four discussed in the report. She finished by stating that this was a unique opportunity to maximise the potential of the Beach Huts.
This was a matter for Executive decision
Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein
(1) T H A T the contents of the report be noted.
(2) T H A T the report be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) for consideration.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To advise Cabinet on the first season of operation for the beach huts at Barry Island.
(2) To ensure that the relevant Scrutiny Committee is involved in this matter.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 22 FEBRUARY 2016