Ramboll's robust beach hut scheme will stand up to challenging coastal conditions. Photo courtesy Snug Architects
When most of the old privately-owned concrete huts were destroyed by violent waves and high winds, New Forest District Council (NFDC) decided to make the best of the unexpected opportunity to improve Milford’s seafront for everyone by including improvements to the seafront in the replacement scheme.
The previous beach huts comprised four terraces of equally sized beach huts formed of unreinforced blockwork walls on reinforced concrete slabs, with concrete roofs. They remained in a serviceable condition for over 50 years until their structural flaws were exposed in the storm of February 2014.
In July 2015 NFDC appointed a design partnership of Ramboll and Snug Architects with the challenging brief to develop designs for the huts that would withstand future storms, be an attractive addition to the seafront and meet the needs of beach hut users, local residents and visitors. The primary requirement was to return 119 beach huts of similar dimensions to the same, space restricted location. Ramboll provided consultancy services for design and construction.
The team developed a number of outline design options and presented them to the public at an event in Milford in August 2015. Detailed engineering assessment included a review of the wave related overtopping and applied forces to ensure that the proposed structures will withstand a 1:200 year storm event.
A major part of the design has been the enhancement of the overall waterfront through new promenades, access bridges and ramps.
The replacement huts are formed from reinforced concrete and have a design life of 50 years in accordance with design standards for maritime structures.
The huts are set back into the upper promenade reducing their exposure to the elements and removing a hazardous gap that existed between the upper prom and the old huts. A slim stainless steel balustrade protects visitors from the edge of the upper prom where they can enjoy spectacular views of the Isle of Wight from the top of the huts. The wider lower promenade in front of the huts creates more shared space for hut owners and other users, and provides further storm protection.
This replacement scheme has greatly improved the overall characteristics of the site in terms of available space in front of beach huts, visual appearance, resistance to storm conditions, views from behind the beach huts, pedestrian access and safety.