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New Forest Beach Hut Owners' Association


Milestones in the History of the New Forest Beach Hut Owners Association

Hordle Beach Hut Owners Association formed

First Chairman : Paul Vegoda;
Tony Blakely - Treasurer:
Hugh Whitlock -Legal Matters

Sharon Plumridge ( NFDC ) suggests to Paul Vergoda that the Association should enlarge to take aboard the interests of owners in Calshot, Milford and Barton-on-Sea

The New Forest Beach Hut Owners Association formed with Paul Vergoda as Chairman and Tony Blakely as Treasurer

Alan King elected Chairman and John Freshwater as Secretary and Treasurer ( Membership stood at 230 members )

In September 1998 Alan King died after a short illness. John Freshwater held the office of temporary Chairman until
September 1999, when Victor Bayford volunteered to be the acting Chairman until the 1999 AGM

1999 - 2002
Victor Bayford elected Chairman and John Freshwater re-elected Treasurer

2002 -2006
Andy Clark volunteered to be Chairman with his wife as Secretary. Val Perry volunteered to be Treasurer. Beach Hut representatives elected were David Feltham (Calshot), Cllr. Brian Giles (Milford), Barbara Videl (Hordle Cliff) and Peter Holding (Barton-on-Sea).

Andy Clark, Val Clark, Barbara Videl, Val Perry and Brian Giles stood down. Subsequently, David Feltham was elected as Chairman and Cllr. Brian Giles as Secretary. Other positions were soon filled with the following offering their services. Les Holmes as Treasurer, Pauline Haden as Calshot representative and Carman Senechal as Hordle Cliff representative.

Following a 41% rise in site rental for huts at Calshot from April 2005, a working party was set up comprising representatives of the Association and of NFDC with the objective of bringing parity between all huts in the New Forest area. A first Extraordinary General Meeting of the Association was held in November 2007 and the principle was agreed though NFDC insisted that practical achievement of parity was to be spread over several subsequent years with gradual changes. Finally, parity of site rental charges across all beaches was achieved in 2014.

2008 - 2013
During this period, the Association’s Committee undertook numerous meetings with Leisure Portfolio Holders of NFDC to represent the views of the Association’s membership. The Committee membership remained fairly stable under the chairmanship of David Feltham with Brian Giles as Secretary and Les Holmes as Treasurer. Beach representatives were Brian Larwood and later Caroline Morrison at Barton, Pauline Haden at Calshot, Robin Watton and then Pam Clayton at Hordle and Norma Butler followed by Peter Jennions at Milford.

Ongoing issues common to all beaches were vandalism of huts, coastal erosion and the use of powered craft, particularly jet-skis close to shorelines where they cause a severe hazard to bathers, kayakers and small sailing craft. Representations by the Committee concerning these issues to NFDC and Hampshire Constabulary sadly brought only limited resolution of the concerns.

2014 and Still Ongoing…
On St Valentine’s Night 2014, severe storms along the South Coast caused much damage to coastal buildings including beach huts. In the New Forest area, 102 huts were damaged at Hordle Cliff, including 45 destroyed, 20 in danger of collapse and with unsafe access and a further 18 at risk from possible structural cliff failure. At Milford, to the west of The White House there were a dozen timber huts standing further back from the sea which at that time escaped serious damage but ceased to be viable in 2020 when a section of the sea wall collapsed. About 30 of the 119 concrete block huts east of The White House were destroyed by the storm or subsequently demolished by the Council on safety grounds. About 45 huts were judged to be seriously damaged and the residue had little or no damage. The huts were built for the Lymington town Council in the 1960s and inherited by The New Forest District Council in the 1970s. They stood on a promenade of doubtful quality, looked their age and had asbestos incorporated in their roofs and these were said to be weak.

The Council developed a scheme to enhance the seafront and strengthen the sea defences. This involved demolishing all of the huts, allowing rebuilding of the promenade and providing new huts that were available to owners of the previous structures – for a ‘contribution’ towards the cost. The scheme took more than three years in development and construction and ultimately cost £2.4M. The Association, particularly the newly elected Milford Rep, Colin Holdsworth worked closely with NFDC on the development of the scheme from 2014 onwards. The new huts were released in May 20017 and generally owners were delighted with the result. However, the lightweight doors installed have been criticized and to date (August 2020) the Council and others involved for them in the construction have replace 19 selected doors leaving owners to finance the cost of replacing those subsequently failing.

A much less clear picture emerged for damaged or destroyed huts at Hordle Cliff resulting from cliff erosion and shingle movement from the beach. Natural England and NFDC permitted some huts to be repaired or replaced after the 2014 Valentine Night storm but others are still not in place because of concerns about the stability of cliffs and ongoing changes to the profile of the beach.

Email became the preferred method of communication for AGM invitations and other necessary documents where Association members had given their permission to do so. This saves on postage and stationary. The membership application form also offered members the option of making payment of the subscription fee by bank transfer rather than by cheque.

There were several Committee changes at the 2015 AGM:

·         David Feltham resigned as Chairman and was replaced by Shirley Taylor

·         Brian Giles resigned as Hon. Secretary and was replaced by Sheila Shields

·         Pam Clayton resigned as Hordle Rep. and was replaced by Brian Giles

·         Les Holmes resigned as Hon. Treasurer and was replaced by Colin Byford

·         Mary Bonar took over the vacant role of Barton Rep.

The new committee continued to meet NFDC regularly to address matters of interest and common concerns of Association members.

The new NFBHOA web site went live, providing an excellent information resource to existing and potential new Association members. Forms and other information documents are available on the site, together with pictures from social events and news concerning beach hut related matters.

There were two Committee changes at the 2017 AGM:

·         Brian Giles resigned his position as Hordle Rep. after 20 years’ valuable service to the NFBHOA Committee and was replaced by Jan Wise.

·         Mary Bonar resigned as Barton Rep. and was replaced by Lesley Monaghan.

There were two Committee changes at the 2018 AGM:

·         Sheila Shields regrettably had to resign as Hon. Secretary due to ill health and was replaced by Jan Wise.

·         Paul Major stepped up as Hordle Rep. to replace Jan Wise.

 September 2018 saw the Association’s second afternoon Blue Funnel cruise, this time leaving from Hythe Pier. Thanks to the lovely weather on the day, the cruise which took in Southampton port, Southampton Water and the Solent was great success. Tea was enjoyed by all.

There were three Committee changes in 2019.

·         Shirley Taylor resigned as Chair and has yet to be replaced.

·         Richard Haden was co-opted as Website Administrator.

·         Lesley Monaghan resigned as Barton Rep. and was replaced temporarily by Paul Major adding Barton to his duties as Hordle Rep.

A members' Photographic Competition was held and well supported.

2020 to 2022

Due to restrictions required to control the coronavirus, Covid-19, the Association's 2020 AGM was first postponed and later cancelled. The 2021 AGM was held by an online Zoom meeting.

Also, as a result of Covid-19, no members' social events were possible in 2020 or 2021 but a second photographic competition with the theme, Autumn & Winter at the Beach took place.

In 2021, Colin Holdsworth resigned as Milford rep. and was replaced by Beverley Smith. Melanie Swain became the Barton rep. leaving Paul Major to remain as Hordle rep. Pauline Haden continued as Calshot rep., Jan Wise remained as Hon. Secretary, Colin Byford as Hon. Treasurer and Richard Haden as Website Administrator. The appointments of both Melanie and Beverley were confirmed at the 2021 AGM, as were the continued appointments of the other committee members. The position of Chair, filled for a short time on an acting basis by Alice Burch again became vacant on her resignation.

In 2022, the earlier lifting of Covid-19 restrictions allowed a normal AGM to be held. Committee membership remained unchanged after the new appointments which had taken place in 2021. The position of Chair remained unfilled. be continued and enhanced.