Agenda Item No. 5
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 20th May 2014
Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation
Barry Island Beach Huts - Rental Policy
Purpose of the Report
1. To recommend a rental policy for the beach huts being constructed on the eastern promenade at Barry Island.
That Scrutiny recommend to Cabinet as follows:
1. That the Barry Island Beach Huts Rental Policy, as outlined in paragraphs 6 - 13 of this report, be approved.
2. That the beach huts be advertised and rented out in accordance with the above.
3. That the Director of Development Services be tasked with producing a Rental Policy Document based on recommendation 1 above.
4. That, following the close of the season, a report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet on the operation of the Beach Hut Scheme.
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. For Committee's consideration.
2. In order that tourists and visitors to the Island understand the terms of beach hut rental put in place and
3. That the beach huts contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of the area and contribute financially to future regeneration initiatives.
4. To update Committee and Cabinet.
2. As part of the Eastern Promenade contracted works at Barry Island the Council will be constructing two sets of twelve beach huts in an effort to increase the attractiveness of the Eastern Promenade.
3. The twelve beach huts nearest the Eastern Shelter will be larger in form and the Barry Regeneration Board had discussed their being used either in the traditional manner or for short term commercial purposes such as craft fairs etc. Eleven of the units will have a power supply and will be able to access water from the twelfth which will be fitted out with sink units.
4. The other twelve beach huts, situated further along the promenade and alongside the proposed water feature and the new toilet block, are smaller units and have been designed as changing rooms for the beach.
5. All the beach huts are of block-work construction but externally finished in multi-coloured resin/plastic based wood replacement cladding. Currently none are being fitted out with any specific furniture but the pilot study will allow customer needs to be determined via a questionnaire.
Relevant Issues and Options
6. The Project Board had discussed the options for managing the units and had considered the options of:
· Selling the units on the open market
· Marketing the opportunity of managing the units by a third party, or,
· The Council marketing and managing the units itself.
7. The preference of the Project Board, set up to manage the Barry Island Public Realm Programme, was for the Council to retain the units and control their marketing and rental itself. The Project Board thought that this would allow complete control of the uses and the flexibility to learn from the pilot project and implement variations to operations speedily. With respect to the sale option the Project Board could not be certain that prospective purchasers would actually utilise their units on a regular basis throughout the season and they did not wish to see the units less than fully utilised. The third party management option was also considered in some detail but again it was felt that this option might result in limited utilisation of the units. The third party would obviously seek best rental return and this might not coincide with fullest use if a seasonal rental arrangement was used.
8. The preference was, therefore, to maintain the Council control of the units but this means that a Rental Policy needs to be agreed.
9. For the smaller units the proposal is to rent them out on a daily basis. Consideration was given to hourly or morning and afternoon rental but this requires a more complex management regime which will incur additional costs and increase price. For the larger units the options appeared to be a daily rental, a weekly or part-weekly rental or a seasonal rental. Some research information has been provided by the Tourism Section in relation to other local authorities and how and what they charge for use of their beach huts. The majority appear to operate on the basis of annual leases, seasonal leases or ground leases but in many cases the authorities are managing hundreds of units. In the cases where authorities rent out on a daily and/or weekly basis the daily rental charges vary between £11.00 and £60.00. Some allow bookings for two or three days or weekly. Seasonal booking holds the risk of less than full use and it was considered that rental arrangements should be limited to weekly bookings.
10. Given this variation, and without any detailed appraisal of what visitors might actually require at this specific location officers would propose a pilot operating period of 12 months with charges set at:
· £15.00 a day for the smaller units.
· £30.00 a day for the larger units.
· Weekly booking of the larger units will be allowed.
· We aim to staff the new toilet throughout the season from April 1st to September 30th with a rotating shift from 7am until 10pm. The new toilet would be open at 10am (the existing toilet is opened earlier but is not staffed), and this would give us 3 hours to clean the toilet and the new beach huts which could also open at 10am. The beach huts would close at 8pm at the latest, though we think that most users would be out by 6pm. They could stay open longer for events. The keys could then be handed in to the staff member on shift and he or she could ensure that the huts are vacated at the correct time to avoid the potential for any anti social behaviour. Cleaning would be undertaken in the morning but only on handover i.e. if the hut was a weekly booking no cleaning would take place until the end of the hire.
· We would run the bookings similar to the system that is currently in place for special collections. Payments and bookings would be via the contact centre and our staff would be issued with a print off each morning indicating the bookings for that day/week. Bookings could also be taken on the day but users would have to do this again via the contact centre. Our attendant would confirm the payment for daily bookings directly with the contact centre by phone. In this way the integrity of the booking system is maintained and no money changes hands. Cash payments could be made but this would be via the cashier’s office at the Civic.
11. As the majority of other local authorities manage mainly seasonal rental the information relating to booking arrangements in the data generally refers to the standard waiting list. Other local authorities don’t appear to yet use any form of on line booking but a fair proportion talked about telephone bookings. In our case the car park operations do allow for mobile phone payments and we can consider this approach alongside on line booking arrangements. Given the likely popularity of these units the simplest and fairest system appears to be the "first come first served" option that many authorities use.
12. From the outset the intention had been to allow some form of commercial use to operate from the larger beach huts. It is initially envisaged that they will be let for this purpose on a number of set dates in the calendar. If demand proves greater than this the policy may be amended. The intention will be to seek interested parties via on line marketing and, again, offer on a first come first served basis. Various restrictions will need to operate and, for example, the selling of food would not be permitted.
13. Information relating to the beach hut rental policy and management issues such as parking arrangements at Nell's Point will be published on the Council's website.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
14. There will be resource implications in managing and the beach huts, in terms of ongoing maintenance and cleaning. There will also be a cost in administering the huts. These will be offset by the changes raised for the hire of the beach huts and the full costs implications will be assessed further following the piloting of the policy during this first summer season.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
15. The provision of the beach huts is part of a comprehensive regeneration scheme of the Eastern Promenade to enhance the visitor experience and facilities on the Island, thereby enhancing its sustainability as a destination.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
16. It will be necessary for appropriate terms and conditions to be drafted to govern hire of the beach huts.
Crime and Disorder Implications
17. There are no crime and disorder implications. The design of the beach huts will incorporate security measures.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
18. There are no implications at this stage. Access ramps have been provided to the beach huts.
19. The Corporate and Service objective of the regeneration of Barry Island is the key objective.
Policy Framework and Budget
20. This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
21. Local Members have been consulted.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
22. Economy and Environment.
John Dent - Major Projects Manager - tel. 01446 704617
Operational Manager Legal - Committee Reports
Group Estates Officer
Director of Visible Services and Housing
Operational Manager Waste Management and Cleansing
Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services