A CAMPAIGN has been launched to stop beach huts being built in Shoebury.

Southend Council has earmarked £120,000 to build 20 traditional wooden huts on the Rampart Terrace section of East Beach.

The council hopes to sell them off, making an estimated £20,000 profit on each.

However, Anne Chalk, Independent Shoebury councillor, and some residents are now putting together a petition opposing the plans.

The main reason for objecting is the loss of space on an already crowded beach.

Mrs Chalk also believes the huts could result in increased vandalism and would not benefit the wider Shoebury community.

She said: “We have already lost a section of the beach to waterskiing and a huge car park.

“I’m not against beach huts, I just don’t think this is the right place.

“East Beach is very idyllic and we don’t want it to end up like Southend, where it is much more commercial.

“It’s a nice little place and it should be kept that way. This is just a money-making scheme.”

Shoebury Residents Association member David Schindler, 36, of George Street, agrees with the petition, but fears it will prove futile.

He said: “A petition is just a tactic that is used to distract people from being vocal.

“If you put it all on paper, then it can just get thrown away and forgotten.

“Ultimately I think the beach huts will get vandalised to such a degree no-one will actually want them.”

Tory councillor Roger Hadley devised the idea as a way to boost the Southend Council budget. He believes the huts will be a welcome addition to East Beach and could be sold at a tidy profit, making the council about £400,000 in total.

He said: “About a year ago, we were looking for money and we looked at East Beach, where years ago there were beach huts.

“Shoebury has had a lot of money from the council, including £6.5million for the new Hinguar School, so it is only fair the money raised from the sale of these huts is used throughout the borough.”

Huts were a fixture of East Beach in the Fifties and Sixties, but they had to be knocked down after falling into a state of disrepair.