WEYMOUTH Town Council has allocated £10,000 in funding to purchase additional beach deckchairs and sunbeds for people to hire during the next summer season - with rates frozen for 2022.

The money for the new equipment will come out of funding reserves, with stock levels currently at the 'lowest in many years’.

Money made from deckchair hire is ploughed back into the operation and maintenance of the beach.

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The decision to allocate cash was made during a services committee meeting on Wednesday, October 20.

Committee chairman, Councillor Ryan Hope, said: "It’s good because it's another way income is generated rather than taking from the public through taxes.

Dorset Echo: Cllr Ryan Hope     Picture: Weymouth Town Council

“During covid we did not put the deckchairs out, and obviously that made a loss in the money generated.

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“Money from the reserves helps replace them and investment from the chairs helps us operate and run the beach.”

Over the course of the 2021 season Weymouth Town Council made an £18,465 profit on hire income on deckchairs and sunbeds.

Cllr Hope says that increasing in the amount of equipment available to hire will generate more money.

Out of the £10,000 allocated for new items to hire, £3,465 has been approved by the operations manager to be spent on an additional 20 sunbeds following demand this year.

Dorset Echo: Real people resting on deckchairs by promenade to Weymouth. Full frame, hrizontal crop wih high horizon and calm azure sea in backgrounds..

However, while there was strong interest in sunbeds, the number of daily hires for beach deckchairs and prom deckchairs was less when comparing 2021 to 2019.

In 2021 beach deckchairs were hired 17,691 times compared to 19,397 in 2019. Prom deckchairs were rented 5,923 times in this year’s season compared to 6,176 in 2019.

Cllr Hope says the reduction in hire is down to ‘many reasons' - including some people being reluctant to hire public equipment amid covid.

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He said: “Numbers were down last year due to a shorter season and there’s still some people who do not want to use them because they do not want to share public things, for example.”

Councillors have decided to continue with the same hire rates for next year - £2.50 for deckchairs in July and August compared to £2.20 off-peak.

Sunbed hire will remain at £7.50 in July and August, compared to £6.50 off-peak.

Currently the council owns 772 deckchairs, 61 windbreaks and 130 sunbeds.