Overnight stay beach huts get go-ahead as part of £90m Bournemouth seafront plan

Overnight stay beach huts get go-ahead as part of £90m Bournemouth seafront plan

PROPOSAL: The Overstrand building
The Overstrand building

INNOVATIVE sleep-in beach huts planned for Southbourne will prove a money-spinner – unlike the problematic surf pods at Boscombe.

That’s the claim from Bournemouth’s council leader who reassured councillors that a detailed business case had been drawn up for the sleep-in huts and they were a ‘completely different proposal’ to the designer surf pods in Boscombe that proved so difficult to sell.

The 20 new sleep-in huts planned for Southbourne are part of the first phase of Bournemouth’s 20-year seafront strategy – a £90m package of improvements to make Bournemouth seafront ‘genuinely world-class’.

The seafront strategy was widely praised at a meeting of cabinet members but Conservative backbench councillor Derek Borthwick asked whether they were sure they were ‘definitely getting it right on accommodation’.

“Are we happy that we won’t have the same problems with these as we did with the expensive beach huts at Boscombe?” he asked.

But council leader John Beesley said the finances of the proposed huts had been ‘vigorously’ reviewed.

“We were very interested in the detail of the business case to make sure that exactly your fear didn’t come to pass,” he said.
“As a completely different proposal from that with the beach pods at Boscombe, this proposal, we were persuaded, would be financially advantageous to the council.”

A recommendation to adopt the strategy was unanimously approved by councillors at the meeting.

Pods did not sell well

The Wayne Hemingway-designed pods in Boscombe’s Overstrand building were supposed to generate £2.9million but the first two years saw just 17 out of 43 units sold.

The initial launch prices of £64,995 for a single and £89.995 for a double tumbled to £44.995 and £74,995 and then Bournemouth council started offering leases on the pods, with a 10-year deal costing £17.995.

The latest figures show that Bournemouth council has so far made £1.46m from selling the upmarket huts.

Another five potential sales are reported to be in the pipeline.

Bournemouth Echo

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