Humberston Fitties chalet owners to present case to stay for 50 weeks of year
CHALET owners fighting for a 50-week lease at Humberston Fitties will present their case to council bosses at a long-awaited hearing.
North East Lincolnshire Council will hold a select committee hearing to investigate the terms of the Fitties' leases, following the Fitties Owners Residents' Association Bungalows' (FORAB) campaign to let them stay at the park for 50 weeks rather than 44 weeks of the year.
FORAB see the hearing as a chance to make their voice heard and will give four presentations – including the results of three flood risk assessments carried out by NELC, the Environment Agency and FORAB at the site of the Fitties.
As reported, one of the reasons the Fitties closes for eight weeks during the winter is because the Environment Agency say it is at risk of flooding – although chalet owners disagree.
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Chairman Paul Harwood said: "We have been preparing for this day for two years and we feel very confident. We are finally getting a fair hearing, that is all we have wanted, we have asked for, and hopefully what we will get."
A referendum held last year found that of the 336 chalet owners, three-quarters of those who responded want the terms of their lease to be investigated – including the length of their stay, as reported.
"The fact we have had this consultation and that it came out favourably for us gives us hope," added Paul.
"There will be plenty of people from the Fitties there and I hope members of the wider public will come too.
"The Fitties is often misunderstood, but if people come to the hearing they will understand all we have ever wanted is to be able to sleep in our beds at night no matter what the time of year is."
The hearing will take place across two days on October 23 and 25 at Cleethorpes Town Hall and will also discuss planning and environment restrictions and the implications to the council as landlord.
Chalet owner Steve Elliott is not against the 50-week lease, but fears without restrictions it might "alter the entire character" of the conservation area.
He said: "There must be safeguards put in place preventing the Fitties from becoming a housing estate," said Steve.
"The 50-week lease is very attractive to people in property, who may buy them and rent them out to make a fast buck. While the Fitties is very nice in the summer, the homes are not suitable for families in the winter.
"Apart from the youth club, there is nothing left for young people to do in the winter. It will start off with a bit of mischief and before you know it they will be getting themselves into trouble."
Among the suggestions for restrictions are only allowing the over-60s to stay 50 weeks of the year or banning chalet owners from renting out their properties for the first three years of owning them.
Chairman of the select committee, Councillor Ray Sutton, said: "We want to ensure we look at the whole spectrum of issues around the Fitties before we come up with recommendations. I am sure it will be a very useful and fruitful two days for us to listen to a range of views about how we takes things forward on the issue."
Recommendations from the select committee will be submitted to the council's cabinet for consideration.