Fears the iconic South Gare fishermen’s huts are in line to be flattened have been cast off.
Since August 1956, the South Gare Fishermen’s Association has had a lease on land, currently owned by Tata Steel, on which 101 huts are based.
There is no expiry date on the lease, which costs the association £200 per year.
But now letters are being delivered to hut owners, informing them the land is being targeted as part of a Compulsory Purchase Agreement move.
And that has prompted some hut owners to fear they’ll be forced to give up their pride and joy.
Many of the distinctive green huts have had thousands of pounds spent on them and are amazing inside.
But after rising concern on social media, the South Tees Development Corporation, which delivered the letters, has moved to put hut owners’ minds at rest.
In May, the STDC announced it wanted to secure ownership of the old SSI site and adjacent areas so it could be freed up for redevelopment – possibly unlocking more than 20,000 jobs over the next 25 years.
But today, it stressed there are no plans to get rid of the huts, which are among Redcar’s most iconic symbols and have been featured in TV shows like Vera.
A South Tees Development Corporation spokesperson told Teesside Live: “We will not make changes to the lease arrangements for the fisherman’s huts or ask them to vacate this land.”
And Ian Frank, chairman of the South Gare Fishermen’s Association, said people shouldn’t be alarmed.
He said: “This has been blown out of proportion. The Development Corporation has been in regular contact to explain the situation and it has been clear that it has no intention of making any changes to the fisherman’s huts.
“People shouldn’t be alarmed about this. Their plans to develop the site are a good thing for this area.
“We are hoping to build a good relationship with all involved and our members want to be part of this for the good of all concerned.”
The letters to hut owners says that in order to “enable the regeneration of the South Tees area” the STDC needs to “acquire the necessary interest in, and rights over, the land”.
It states: “STDC hopes to acquire the land by agreement but accepts that this might not be possible in all cases. It has therefore made a decision to proceed with a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to acquire the land should it become necessary.”
The purpose of the letter, it states, is to help gather “details of all interests in the land.”
Those details are needed by STDC, the letter says, “to ensure that all persons with a relevant interest in this land are served with the appropriate statutory notices, kept informed throughout the process and to ensure all interests are recorded.”