BEACH hut tenants have been dealt a bombshell by BCP Council – their huts are being demolished to make way for a £2.4million seafront visitor centre.

Residents who have rented out huts at Durley Chine for years have been sent a letter informing them about the planned redevelopment of an 'Environmental Innovation Hub' at Durley, which has just received Government funding.

This means tenancies "within the footprint of the build" will be impacted, with a number of beach hut sites set for demolition.

Beach hut tenant Tracy Haywood contacted the Echo after the council emailed her.

She said: "I received this from the council with reference to my beach hut that I have rented at the site for 25 years.

"Not even an offer to move or at least be put to the top of the waiting list."

The letter, from BCP Council's beach hut team, stated: "It has now been confirmed that the land currently licensed to you as a beach hut site will be needed to house the new hub.

"Consequently, it is with extreme regret that we must advise that your beach hut site at Durley will be unavailable and your licence will be revoked on or before 31st August 2020.

"We realise that this news will be extremely upsetting for you and your family & friends who may have used the beach hut for many years."

When first announced, the environmental hub was described as being dedicated to reducing plastic waste along the coast.

It has been funded by the government's Coastal Communities Fund.

Early plans are for a building created in part from plastic harvested from the ocean, along with recycled tropical hardwoods. The hub will feature interactive displays, with further interactive “touchpoints” along 10 miles of coastline.

The letter to tenants from BCP Council's beach hut team said: "As a small gesture of goodwill we have cancelled your 2020 invoice.

"The council is also offering the option of purchasing your beach hut from you for £250 at the end of August 2020.

"We do appreciate that this in no way compensates for the loss of your beach hut site but hope that you can at least enjoy your beach hut until August at no further cost."

Meanwhile, BCP Council tourism member Cllr Lewis Allison said: "The project at Durley is an incredible opportunity to provide something special for our thousands of residents and visitors.

"This will be an exciting addition to the seafront with opportunities for young people to learn more about protecting our environment.

"This will mean changes in the area and we are corresponding directly with beach hut owners to keep them informed.”