If any of the fisherman voted Tory at district elections, they really should have expected this!
“Users of the sheds, used by many to store vital equipment and petrol for their boats, have been told they face having to pay more than four times their usual ground rent.
Landowner East Devon District Council (EDDC) has written to the fishermen to inform them that, when their current annual licence expires in April, renewal will cost £450 instead of £100.
Former town mayor Roger Pym, 72, has been fishing on the seafront for 50 years and still helps his son Sam, 43, with the business.
He said: “I’m furious – we’re being ripped off. It appears to me that they are trying to price all the fishing fraternity out for extra beach huts.
“You don’t need to have a beach hut. If you have one, it’s for pleasure. We need to have a shed as we have a 16ft boat with crab pots.”
Dave Perkins, 60, has been fishing full-time on Budleigh beach for 12 years.
He said: “I expected prices to go up, but to suddenly get a jump of that amount is silly.
“The thing is they’re trying to put it down as commercial ground rent to be in line with all commercial rents, but not all the huts are used by commercial fishermen.
“Nothing is supplied with the sheds – no water, no electricity, no amenities.
“With everything else, with trying to fish on the beach, to get this thrown at us is ridiculous.”
Current Budleigh town mayor Chris Kitson said: “I support the fishermen that have been there on our beach for years and this is not acceptable to have these hikes in rent imposed on them.”
An EDDC spokeswoman said: “As with all our commercial transactions, we prefer to deal directly with our tenants and we would therefore ask Mr Pym to write to our property services team or to telephone them to discuss the matter of his rent.”