Coastal communities were left counting the cost after being battered by 80mph winds that left a trail of destruction in their wake.

Now a new storm is brewing – over a £1.25 million plan to replace 118 concrete beach huts that were ripped apart by the ferocious weather.

People living at Milford on Sea are split over proposals by the district council to rebuild the huts on a “like for like” basis.

Beach hut owners are backing the scheme but other villagers are calling for the site to be cleared, claiming the “eyesore” buildings block views of the Solent and the Isle of Wight.

Both sides in the row were due to come face to face at today’s meeting of New Forest District Council’s ruling Cabinet.

Members are being urged to approve plans to bulldoze the huts at a cost of £150,000 and replace them with reinforced concrete ones costing a total of £884,070. If the scheme goes ahead about £225,000 will be spent on replacing the concrete promenade on which the huts stand.

Each beach hut owner will have to contribute as much as £3,832 to the cost of the project.

As reported in the Daily Echo the storm struck on February 14 damaging the huts and wrecking the nearby Marine restaurant, where diners were enjoying what was supposed to be a romantic Valentine’s Day meal.

Couples were rescued by firefighters as rocks crashed through the windows and the building began to flood.

About 30 of the worst affected beach huts were later demolished in the interests of public safety, revealing stunning views not seen for generations.

Milford parish clerk Keith Metcalf said the parish council had received a large number of letters from residents who did not want the buildings to be replaced.

“They like the views that have now been exposed,” he said.

People campaigning for the beach huts to be replaced are being urged to attend today’s Cabinet meeting amid fears that growing opposition to the project could result in the proposals being scrapped.

Mike and Debbie Booker have issued a rallying cry to fellow beach hut owners.

They said: “We would urge everybody who can attend to do so, otherwise it may be only those who oppose the plans whose voice will be heard.

“This may sway the council’s position.”