The beach hut goes upmarket – in Whitley Bay
The traditional British refuge from the rain gets the luxury resort treatment
Friday 01 January 2010
The traditional beach hut embodies the indomitable spirit of the British holidaymaker. A refuge from that all-too-common driving rain and howling wind, in recent years it has become so much more than just a place to get warm and put the kettle on.
At the height of the housing boom, the best-placed huts were changing hands for hundreds of thousands of pounds, with middle-class families queuing up to get their slice of retro seaside action. This year, however, those who could not afford to buy their own place will have the chance to check into a "beach-hut resort", complete with its own bar, CCTV and a concierge.
The creators of what is claimed to be the first such resort, due to open this summer at Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, believe they have hit on a concept that will have strong appeal for the stay-at-home, bucket and spade market. Permission has been granted for 21 multi-coloured huts to be stationed along the town's Northern Promenade, close to its historic lighthouse. They might look like old-fashioned beach huts from the outside, but the company behind the £2m development is promising home comforts to compensate for the notoriously biting North Sea winds.
Guests, who will pay up to £400 a week at the height of the summer season, will of course be allowed to stay overnight (unlike most beach hut rentals, which require occupiers to leave by sunset). Each hut will sleep four and have its own kitchen, bathroom, shower room, hot and cold running water and even television reception. Double units will sleep six. The "resort" is to include an art gallery with bar, and a concierge for night-time security.
Darren Baker, a director of the company behind the project, Beach Hut Resorts, said there are plans for a further 300 huts in Whitley Bay, and 10 similar developments are in the pipeline at sites earmarked along the coasts of Yorkshire, Wales and Scotland. "We believe that as a concept there is nothing like it. It is quirky and very 'now'. People have a conception of it being a wooden hut, but really it is a timber-framed house built to modern specifications... People find the pound isn't going very far in Europe; we want to bring people to this beautiful area," said Mr Baker.
Whitley Bay may have seen better days. Its most celebrated attraction – the Spanish City where toreadors once thrilled Edwardian audiences – was demolished in the early Nineties, though the famous dome remains.
And locals complain the town has been locked in a spiral of decline for some years, with the closure of many of the larger shops. Some residents opposed the plans to build the new flat-pack housing units, claiming they could bring problems with noise and rubbish. However Northumbria Police backed the idea, saying that CCTV around the huts would reduce any risk of anti-social behaviour.
Supporters of the project say it will bring valuable regeneration money to the area and that holidaymakers will be able to enjoy some of the finest sandy beaches in the British Isles, with the popular surfing waves off Tynemouth about a mile to the south.
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...