NEW beach huts planned for Shoebury are up for grabs after the first batch sold for more than £27,000 each.

Sun-worshippers can bid for seven new beach huts planned for East Beach after Southend Council doubled its £110,000 investment on the first eight.

Architects Pedder & Scampton’s competition-winning design for the first beach huts to grace East Beach in 30 years split opinion with some people bemoaning their departure from other huts seen in Shoebury and Thorpe Bay.

However, demand was so great that estate agent Haart accepted sealed bids.

Grandfather Trevor Smith, 59, of Lifstan Way, Thorpe Bay, who was sunning himself in his hut yesterday, said: “We had a beach hut before in Thorpe Bay. I won’t tell you how much we bought it for or howmuch we sold it for, but I quadrupled my money.

“It wasn’t a bad investment.

It’s not unlike other property. It’s going to go up in price.

“But this isn’t an investment – it’s about getting my family together as a family unit.”

Haart fuelled demand for the modernist constructions with a carefully set out strategy normally reserved for new-build houses, with teaser publicity and viewing days to create “auction fever”.

Manager Paul Wigmore said: “Some of the sealed bids were very much in excess of £20,000.”

Since moving in, the new owners have been getting to know each other and holding barbecues.

Mr Smith said: “They are a really nice group of people down there.”

The council, which as freeholder receives about £700 a year in ground rent and insurance, has set aside £100,000 in next year’s budget to build more, with eight huts earmarked for the concrete outlook near Rampart Terrace.

Conservative councillor for Shoebury, Roger Hadley, who first proposed the new beach huts, said: “I went to see one which a plumber who has done some work for me bought and it looks like a fivestar room.

“It’s fitted out with a wine rack and a sink. It’s absolutely superb.

“It’s good that they were all sold and we have doubled our money.”