Incensed beach hut owners are preparing for another fight with the council over plans to charge them ten per cent of the price when they sell.

Brighton and Hove City Council wants to introduce the new fee from next spring and said it would be in lieu of increasing the annual licence charge.

The council said it does not benefit from the profit made on the sale of Hove beach huts when “most of the value is due to its prime position on the seafront” and that neighbouring authorities also charge a transfer fee.

The licence fee for 2023 to 2024 is £503.60 including VAT and an administration fee of £82 is currently charged for a change of ownership.

But Cathy Biggs, chairwoman of Hove Beach Hut Association, who has owned a beach hut since 2015, says it is wrong to charge owners when they sell as they are not making a profit after years of maintaining their huts and paying the council a ground fee.

“We’ve fought this twice before and now they’ve tried to do it again,” she said.

“We’re very angry. They think we’re made of money. I’ve had a council officer say to me ‘why should you make money off council land?’.

“The beach huts aren’t selling at the moment and they’ve gone way down in price. They’re down to £20,000 to 24,000.

“Every year I’m paying out £1,000 in rent to the council, maintenance, which the council says in our contract you have to do, and we also have to pay insurance in case anything happens. So we have to pay over £1,000 to keep the hut running a year.

“This transfer fee is  ten per cent of the selling fee so how they are going to administrate it I have no idea because their administration is rubbish.

“They said it was that or four times the licence fee, which is the ground rent, which is just over £500. They keep putting that up above the rate of inflation.

“We’re custodians of the seafront, we look after our bit and help people. They don’t appreciate what we do at all.

“And for our £500 we have dodgy toilets, dodgy lighting and hardly any CCTV and they treat us like this.”

Ms Biggs suggested the council build and sell more beach huts to create funds.

The council is running a consultation on the plans until October 19. It said it contacted the 459 hut owners on Friday about the proposal.

But Ms Biggs said she and other hutters have still not received a letter or email from the council and that the consultation period is too short.

The association has also expressed concerns about other aspects of the new contracts.

Fellow beach hut owner Serena Mitchell was outraged by the proposed increase which she said was a “stealth tax” and a 3,000 per cent increase on the transfer fee.

She said: “Many hut owners like me have had their hut for years or even decades. The hut community are furious. This is the council trying to make money off easy targets.

“What in effect is a 3,000 per cent increase is outrageous. Ten per cent of £25,000 is £2,500 compared with £85. Even stamp duty is nought per cent up to £250,000 and then only five per cent on the next band value.

“Hut owners have to pay £500 a year for their lease pitch and spend several hundred a year in maintaining and insurance.

“We are now being punished for maintaining and owning a Brighton public relations feature. We can’t even rent them out for the day like some councils do or allow."

The association will be meeting with hut owners, councillors and council officers at The Hove Club between 10am and noon on October 14 to discuss the proposals.