SOUTHEND Council is set to make £300,000 over the next three years by charging beach hut owners 10 per cent of the profits if they sell up to non-family members.

The move, along with rent rises for owners and charges for offering the huts for day hire, forms part of a raft of budget-saving measures set to be rubber stamped by Southend Council’s cabinet meeting next week.

The huts, which once sold for £1,000 are now regularly changing hands for £100,000, thanks to popularity of staycations as people turned their backs on the hassle of foreign travel following Covid.

It means a potential £10,000 windfall for the council on each sale as it battles a predicted £35million deficit over the next five years.

About a fifth of owners already have to pay the levy under the terms of their lease but new leases are expected to include the rest.

Ian Robinson, secretary of the Southend Beach Hut owners’ Association, said: “When the last leases were negotiated in 2005, if you agreed to pay the ten per cent if you sold you got a slightly cheaper rent.

“It was supposed to benefit people who intended to keep their hut long-term for their family. The huts have gone up in value. With some of the huts going for more than £100,000, it is a big earner for the council.”

The association said owners hiring out their huts had proved problematic.

Mr Robinson said: “Hitherto you could rent your hut out if you paid an extra amount on your annual rent but not many people took that up, about six out of 500.

“The problem has been that some people are doing it without the necessary permission. They’ve been letting them out to large, rowdy groups that have spoiled the quiet enjoyment of nearby huts.

“Although it’s nice for people to be able to hire a hut for a day or a week, it’s okay as long as they are well behaved and act considerately. Something like that is very difficult to police.”

John Lamb, councillor responsible for regulatory services said: “Since we first licensed those beach huts they have gone up in value and the council doesn’t get any of that. If they are going to sell them outside of their family I am all in favour of a proportion of that coming back to the council.

“It will help the council in its current financial situation.”