AN ENFORCEMENT investigation has been launched by council planners over a row of more than 30 beach huts in Christchurch.

BCP Council is currently assessing the situation at Avon Beach due to a “potential breach of planning control”.

This relates to a row of 37 huts which were extended forwards out onto the promenade in recent years without planning permission.

Avon Beach Ltd, a company that lease the promenade from landowners BCP Council, saw an application to retain the huts and extend another 41 refused by the local authority’s planning committee earlier this month.

“The application 8/21/0346 for the beach huts at Avon Beach was refused on September 23,” said a BCP Council spokesperson.

“The council is aware a number of the beach huts are unauthorised and there is an open enforcement investigation into this matter.

“The council will need to determine what action is appropriate to take in light of a potential breach of planning control.’’

The proposal, which was part retrospective in relation to the larger huts already in place, drew a large response from residents.

There were 99 representations objecting to the scheme, while there were 110 in support along with a petition in favour signed by 135 people.

The application was refused by a majority committee vote on the following grounds:

“The beach huts, by reason of their extended size and further intrusion onto the promenade are considered to result in overdevelopment that would harm the visual amenities of this seafront locality.

“The width of the promenade would be reduced preventing access for all users of this space and seating, tables and other beach paraphernalia placed beyond the beach huts would create obstructions for walking cycling, pushchairs, wheelchairs and scooters.”

Avon Beach Ltd has six months to appeal this decision with the Planning Inspectorate.

The company has confirmed to the Daily Echo it intends to put forward a new planning application.

A spokesperson for Avon Beach Ltd said: “We are currently in the process of resubmitting the beach hut planning application and are working closely with the planning department at BCP Council.”

The spokesperson said it is hoped this application will be submitted this week, with full details available when it is registered with the local authority.

It was not confirmed whether this application will apply to just retain the larger huts or include the retrospective element and extend the smaller huts.