BOURNEMOUTH Borough Council has defended its decision to award a contract for 18 new ‘super huts’ at Alum Chine to a Devon firm.

As reported in the Daily Echo, the new beach huts will be built as part of a £90million overhaul of Bournemouth seafront.

But the contract has been given to a Devon company, whose owners themselves said they were shocked to get the work.

The council says that a “fair procurement process” had awarded the contract based on the “best value for money for our residents”.

The Wooden Workshop at Bampton in Devon was given the work for the 18 huts.

The business was set up by husband and wife team, Dean and Laura Lander, two years ago.

Dean, 34, said: “We always check online to see if there are any tendering jobs for carpentry and we saw this and thought it was perfect but we’d probably never get it.”

The huts will have a stainless steel fascia and will be guaranteed for 30 years.

Dean added: “They will have to be fully assembled here including painting as well “That’s mainly because of the tiled roof, which if we were to assemble there on the beach would take a long time and you’d have the weather to contend with.

“The huts will then be transported from here to Dorset and placed on Bournemouth beach.”

Cllr Lawrence Williams, portfolio holder for tourism, leisure and culture at the council, said: “The existing huts have reached the end of their life and, after many years on the seafront, need to be replaced.

“Demand for beach huts at Alum Chine remains very high.

“The new ‘super huts’, which are identical to those previously built on Alum Chine opposite Vesuvio Restaurant, will be offered for sale on 25-year leases.

“Through a fair procurement process, which looks at best value for money for our residents, we have decided to award The Wooden Workshop the contract for building them.”