Rent for iconic beach huts on the North Yorkshire coast is set to go up next month as part of a council price hike which will hit the area’s leisure services.
The move has been slammed by Scarborough Borough Councillor John Ritchie, who claims taxpayers are being priced out of the chalets.
He has also hit out over the council’s proposals to raise admission prices and user fees across its sport and leisure facilities amid growing fears over rising obesity levels.
Coun Ritchie, who is vice chairman of the council’s environment and scrutiny committee, said: “The chalets need to be kept affordable. Local families should be prioritised and it’s about looking after people who pay the council tax in the borough. We want to encourage families and help them enjoy the beach rather than discouraging them by making access to this particular facility unaffordable.”
A decision on whether to raise the rent by up to 10 per cent will be reached by the cabinet member of tourism and culture, Coun David Jeffels, next Thursday.
A report, which will be presented to the councillor, says long waiting lists for the chalets indicate the authority is not charging enough rent.
Coun Ritchie said: “Why don’t we meet that demand by building more chalets? The answer to the problem simply shouldn’t be to put prices up.”
Fees and charges at leisure centres in Whitby and Scarborough are also set to be raised as part of the proposals due to rising inflation. Coun Ritchie added: “The local authority should be encouraging more people to participate in sport to promote fitness and health otherwise greater pressure will be put on health services.
“The problem with going down the inflation route is few people’s wages will have increased by the same amount.”
If given the go-ahead, the changes will be brought in from January 1.