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Villagers have their say on Burton Beach
MORE than 200 villagers from Burton Bradstock turned out to make their views known about the future of the Hive Beach now the National Trust lease on the café and car park is up for renewal.
The parish council was granted a 20-year lease in 1989 to run the car park and café. It sub-let the café to Steve Attrill.
People were being asked to choose between three options or come up with other suggestions.
The options were to renew the lease with the parish council on a commercial basis, and let the parish have the cost and responsibility of repair and maintenance; take back the whole site; or take over the car park and lease the café to the current tenant.
Resident Barbara James, who is keen to see the village retain control of the lease, says the parish council is throwing away its golden egg' and should have done more to ensure essential work and maintenance on the car park could be paid for.
She said: "I don't think the parish council has a hope in hell of keeping it, it is very, disappointing. The National Trust did such a good write up that everyone was ticking option 3 without thinking.
"They have had years to sort out the car park - they should have been putting money away from their revenue each year and then they could have found the money. They have lost their golden egg. It is a very sad day for the village."
Parish council chairman Mike Southgate said most people seemed anxious that the beach and especially the café and access, remain very much as they are now.
He said: "They were certainly concerned that it not be commercialised any more and this is very much in keeping with the way the National Trust wants to play it."
He added the council and village had benefited over the years from the revenue but with increasing numbers of National Trust members parking free, and more visitors putting a strain on the existing infrastructure costs were going up and revenue down.
National Trust consultant Sally Twiss said villagers appeared pleased about the consultation and had asked a lot of questions and been keen to hear the options over the two-day exercise.
The trust was now going to analyse the results of the consultation and make a decision, after talking with the parish council, by the end of the year, she said.
The deadline for consultation is October 24.