A WOMAN has been evicted from her beach chalet for living on the wrong side of the road.

Sonya Trott says she waited for 17 years to rent a chalet, only to be thrown out by Brighton and Hove City Council after 12 months.

She was evicted as she does not fall into the Brighton and Hove council taxpayer area – despite living in Rodmell Avenue, Saltdean, which is a BN2 address.

Sonya, who used the chalet on Saltdean seafront as a base for non-profit sea swimming club Salty Dippers, says she and the club were some of the most frequent users of the chalet.

“I live half a mile away from the beach hut - probably one of the nearest of any tenants of the beach huts,” she said.

“I’ve waited 17 years to get a beach chalet to be evicted after one year. It's absurd.

“If I lived on the opposite side of Rodmell Avenue, it would be OK.”

The Argus: Rents range from £878 to £1,500 a year, depending on the location and whether the chalet has power and water Rents range from £878 to £1,500 a year, depending on the location and whether the chalet has power and water

The council’s tourism, equality, culture and communities committee took the decision earlier this year that its rented beach chalets would only be available to residents of Brighton and Hove.

A council spokesman said this followed a public consultation in which respondents “overwhelmingly supported the chalets only being used by Brighton and Hove council tax payers".

“We are sorry for people who live outside the city in neighbouring areas who have been affected by this decision," he said.

“But it is important that we are seen to be applying our beach chalet rules consistently across the city.”

Sonya, who pays council tax to Lewes District Council, claims the new occupant of her chalet lives in Patcham, which comes under the Brighton and Hove council tax payer area. It is about eight miles from Saltdean seafront.

Chalet rents range from £878 to £1,500 a year, depending on the location and whether it has power and water.

Sonya used the chalet, which cost an annual fee of £1,054.63 including VAT, as a base for Salty Dippers which has nurses, teachers and social workers among its membership. Sonya says the group are “devastated” at losing their hub.

“The beach hut is where we meet every day, rain or shine, to change,” she said. “It has become our community hub where we all talk openly about our feelings and to reduce depression during the challenging and unprecedented times we are in.”

The Argus: Saltdean beach chalets Saltdean beach chalets

She said she was “appalled and frustrated” by the actions of the council.

“The huts are for the Saltdean community and we should not be divided or discriminated against because we live on one side of the road,” she said.

“As key workers, we have seen this little place's effect on others helping with mental wellbeing, loneliness and escapism from the hardships of lockdown.”

An online survey released in September last year had 790 responses, with more than 90 per cent agreeing that people should hand back their chalet if they moved away from Brighton and Hove.

Some people have been on the waiting list for a beach chalet in the Brighton and Hove area for over ten years.