Controversial beach chalet scheme forgot to include provision of water supply in application

Artist's impression of the one of the new beach huts
Artist's impression of the one of the new beach huts
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Fleetwood’s controversial new beach huts scheme was left high and dry after red-faced planners forgot to apply for them to be plumbed in the mains water supply.

Now the scheme is to go back before Wyre planners - despite getting the green light from councillors earlier this month.

These beach huts will be really smart and they will be an asset for Fleetwood

Wyre Council’s handling of the planning issue has been described as “shambolic” by Fleetwood’s Labour group, which opposed the chalets.

The council intends to build the 10 new chalets at a cost of £150,000 on land in front of the Marine Hall colonnades.

The scheme was overwhelmingly backed by councillors on the planning committee on January 6 and described as an asset for the town, although it was bitterly opposed by various parties in Fleetwood.

Fleetwood’s Labour councillors, Fleetwood Town Council, the port’s Civic Society and a number of residents were against the chalets scheme, for a number of reasons.

Wyre Council has confirmed two aspects of the application for the chalets will have to go back to planners for determination on February 3 - one relating to the provision of a water supply in the chalets which was “missed off” the original application; the other being an issue with the timing of the work.

Wyre says work will nevertheless continue in order to complete the chalets by March and the deadline for bids has been extended.

But Fleetwood councillor Ruth Duffy, Wyre’s Labour leader, said: “The process has been shambolic.

“I took issue with the way the plans have been put through, because part of the planning terms and conditions states that no works involved in the building of the chalets should be undertaken between October and March, yet they have already started some of the work.

“The council says this was not a breach of the terms but I think it is.

“The other related to the water supply, which wasn’t even in the original application.

“It isn’t good enough.”

A Wyre spokeswoman said: “Two aspects of the planning application for the beach chalets will go back to the planning committee for determination.

“The first relates to the provision of a water supply in the chalets after it was missed off the original application and the second relates to a condition imposed by Natural England preventing work from starting until March, which has now been reversed.

“In the meantime, work will continue in order complete the chalets before the end of March as originally intended.”

The deadline for bids has been extended to 4pm on Friday February 26. Find out more at wyre.gov.uk/beachchalets

The beach chalet scheme has had a chequered history since Wyre Council’s plans to build the beach huts were first mooted last year. The scheme has attracted criticism in Fleetwood because Wyre is using remaining money from the £1.5m Five for Fleetwood scheme, money earmarked for five schemes includes a skate bowl and improvements to the boating lake.

There is anger that the skate bowl is not the finished item and that the rest of the money should be spent creating the rest of the original “street scene” skatepark. Residents also say new paths earmarked for boating lake have been left unfinished.

The location of the chalets - in front of Wyre Council’s iconic colonnade - has also been criticised, and residents also say not enough people will benefit from the chalets because of the long-term, six year leases.

Coun Duffy “called in” the plans in last year but when they went before the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in December, the committed voted for them to proceed through to planning, where they were approved earlier this month.

However, Coun Pete Murphy has defended the chalet scheme and this week accused the Labour group of hypocrisy over the planning issues.

He said: “Coun Duffy is making a fuss simply because she doesn’t like the scheme.

“We have started early repairing the dome at the Marine Hall, but they are not kicking off about that.

“Wherever you get a planning matter, there will always be some alteration that is needed, and there will always be people for and against it.

“But the scheme will still be going ahead and that is that.

“These beach huts will be really smart and they will be an asset for Fleetwood.

“They will also raise revenue which can be spent on other projects in Fleetwood and Wyre, which is even better.”