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Small beach hut (sea view), no toilet, power or running water.. and it's priceless; FLORIST'S JOY AS SHE REALISES DREAM OF OWNING LITTLE HIDEAWAY Quirky seaside sheds are in demand but they can't be sold for profit.

Byline: Will Lyon

THEY may be smaller than the average living room, have no toilets, power or running water, but there is a 10-year waiting list for these quirky huts.

The 44 multi-coloured 10ft x 13ft wooden structures on the remote Hopeman beach in Moray have been popular summer homes for more than a century - and today, they're virtually priceless.

Local florist Liz Grey, 53, finally realised her life-long ambition recently when she became a proud owner after nearly a decade on the waiting list.

Liz said: "It's an absolutely magical place. Everyone around here wants to have one."

In other parts of the country, similar beach huts can fetch around PS50,000 each, but those at Hopeman have become moneycan't-buy hideaways. They are part of a community project and change hands for just a few hundred pounds because they cannot be sold for profit.

Liz added: "You'd be amazed at what you can get in them. Even though I've got one of the oldest huts on the beach, so it's one of the smallest.

"Some of them are quite phenomenal. They've got bars, kitchens, three-piece suites - they really are homes from homes."

She added: "They all have their own character, as they're all painted differently.

"The one I've got has a Punch and Judy on it, while next door's is painted in rainbow colours.

"But the main attraction is in summertime, as it's a complete community down there. Everyone is so friendly - everyone wanders from one to another to chat.

"I'll get up in the morning, eat my breakfast, put my costume on, wander a few yards and go for a in the sea.

"There will be dolphins swimming past all day and in evening you light up the eat, and watch the sun go down. It's absolutely fabulous.

We don't have running water or power, but we have water containers and gas canisters, so they're no inconvenience to us."

swim i "The swimm the ev fires, down "W wate wate cani inco H buy har an lis ge However, any potential buyers of the huts face a long, hard battle to purchase them, and some on the waiting list don't think they'll ever get the chance.

th A maybe Dennis Slater, a member of the Hopeman Community Association, said: "There's one that comes up for sale every year or two years. I'm on the waiting list but I don't know where. I don't think I'll ever be able to get one. They're like gold dust.

"There are comfortably more than 50 people on the waiting list and, in fact, I know many people who have had to wait well over 10 years for one. They're so hard to get hold of."

And after over a nine-year wait of her own, Liz admits she will never sell up and hopes to hand down the property to her children, Gerry, 29, Jonathan, 27 and Beth, 17.

She said: "I had to wait for nine years to get mine because they're as rare as hen's teeth. We found that they are generally passed from generation to generation and I'll be doing the same."

Although living in the huts is idyllic in the summer, Hopeman is exposed to severe gale-force winds and snow during the winter and Liz admitted repairs are required every spring. She said: "My hut has been down there for about 75 years and some are even older, so they do need work done sometimes.

"The weather can be very extreme at times and it's a surprise how well they do survive because they are LIZ GREY quite literally on the beach. We don't look after them just for ourselves either as we have to consider their popularity as landmarks, too. You often get people taking pictures just because of all the bright colours and the uniqueness of them."

'I had long wait because they're as rare as hen's teeth' LIZ GREY the


RAINBOW J A neighbouring hut

TRADITIONAL J One of the more toned down huts

BLISS J When the sun shines

PROPERTY HOTSPOT J The huts on Hopeman Beach in Moray often get visitors taking pictures of their bright colours

SLICK AS A PARROT J The owners of this hut have decorated their home in a stylish tropical theme

DELIGHT Z Liz is chuffed to bits at finally having her own hut

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 4, 2013
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