CONTROVERSIAL beach hut price rises could be decided on next week.

Isle of Wight Council cabinet member for finance Stuart Hutchinson is set to make the decision under delegated powers on Monday, October 29 — unless another councillor calls the decision in before Friday.

When the plans were first announced in May, furious beach hut owners told the County Press it was ‘immoral’ to impose a rent rise of up to 400 per cent.

The ground rent for huts on council-owned land is £308 a year. However, the new valuation could see the figure rise to between £608 and £1,336.

Huts more than 10sqm all face a rent increase of more than £1,000. For example, a 17sqm site is currently £416 per year but would be £1,476 per year by 2023.

This week, the council said it had listened to beach hut owners and planned to phase the new rents in over a longer period to ease pressures and introduce more lease benefits.

A statement said: "The Isle of Wight Council has revised its new, fairer pricing structure for beach hut rent. The proposed phased price increase has been extended from three to five years and options for single leases with multiple people and the ability to sublet huts have been added."

Council leader Cllr Dave Stewart said: "This review remedies some of the anomalies that have developed around beach hut rents over a number of years.

"The new rents provide a fairer system for owners of different sized huts and are more in keeping with other areas.

"Our current rental value is around 85p a day, when on the mainland it's up to five times that. The rental income we receive from these sites help us support other council services, so it's important we're more in line with the market value.

"We’ve listened to those beach hut owners who have contacted us since the review was announced and we believe these additional measures would provide a fairer way of implementing the change."

The original benefits of the new arrangements, including extended the lease period to ten years, would still stand.

The review includes beach huts at Appley, Puckpool, Gurnard, Old Littlestairs and Dunroamin at Shanklin, and Colwell Bay — a total of 234 huts.

The price increases, if approved, would come into effect in April.