RESIDENTS of Burton Bradstock are being asked to have their say on what is to happen to the Hive Beach café and car park once the National Trust lease runs out in 2009.

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 and the café now enjoys a national reputation, regularly appearing in the national papers.

Now the lease is up for renewal the National Trust has suggested three options - keep things as they are with lease renegotiated on a commercial basis, which it admits is not its favoured option; take back the whole site, also not a preferred option; or take over the car park and lease the café to the current tenant.

Chairman of the parish council Mike Southgate said the two-day exhibition in the village hall over the weekend was to get people's views and opinions for the way forward.

He said the council, although it had a working group in talks with the National Trust, had made no decision on what the future should hold.

He said there was no doubt that a substantial amount of money would need to be spent on the site to cater for the increasing numbers who visited the coast.

As matters stood the parish council were responsible for its upkeep and that could be a considerable amount of money, he said.

Also the parish council had avoided comment as it did not know what terms the trust might offer in any new lease.

"The café and car park have been a profitable business but not as profitable as one would expect," said Mr Southgate.

"Also a significant factor is the increase in the attraction of the coastline as a whole. Over the past seven years there has been a more than doubling of the numbers of cars which has put more pressure on the infrastructure and now with the emphasis on the heritage site it is only going to get worse.

"But our position all hinges on what terms a new lease would have and the emphasis would very likely be more much stringent and demanding."

Mr Southgate said they hoped to know by the end of the year what was going to happen.

"Obviously the café tenant is very anxious to know what's going to happen. His lease runs out in April 2009 and it is only fair that he should know in advance."

National Trust consultant Sally Twiss said the trust wanted the input from local people and that was the reason for the two-day event.

The trust had put up three options, she said, but would also be glad to hear other ideas.

The weekend consultation would be very informal , she added, but there would be feedback forms.

The event is on from 11am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.