Futures Forum: Regenerating Exmouth seafront >>> cabinet report Wednesday 9th November >>> demonstration Saturday 12th November
Here are the minutes from that meeting:
Queen’s Drive site, Exmouth update
Louise MacAlister spoke about her concerns over the extra costs and increased project costs. Ms MacAlister stated the initial scenarios were based on assumptions and not evidence. She asked Members to consider the financial implications within the report.
This report updated members on the delivery of an improved seafront offer for Exmouth and, in particular, progress on the Queen’s Drive regeneration project. It advised Cabinet and sought approval on recommendations relating to progress with the Queen’s Drive site phases;
1. to note that the Council was negotiating the detail of its development agreement with Grenadier Development to deliver a Watersports Hub and associated development at Queens Drive,
2. to note that in taking forward a fresh review of phase 3 of the Queens Drive site the Council would give Exmouth people another opportunity to have their say on what happens on that site. The Council would bring in external expertise to carry out a review. This would involve full consultation that was neither developer nor Council led,
3. to note that legal delays had had a significant impact on delivering all phases of Queen’s Drive improvements including revised timing and increased project costs,
4. to note that under delegated powers and an exemption to standing orders, officers had engaged planning and design services to take forward a reserved matters application for the continuance of the current planning approval of Queen’s Drive.
To enable progress to be made on further improving the seafront offer for Exmouth with the continuation of the Queen’s Drive site project, specifically the Council’s responsibility for the road and car park, Grenadier’s investment to deliver a Watersports Hub and a fresh review of phase 3 that included consultation, design and marketing around a mix of leisure uses and attractions.
EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL - Minutes of the meeting of Cabinet - 9 November 2016
Here's the report which was presented to cabinet:
Queen’s Drive Site, Exmouth – Update Report [page 81]
A few days later, there was a demonstration on Exmouth's seafront:
Nearly 400 march to save Exmouth seafront - Home - Sidmouth Herald
Save Exmouth Seafront - speech by Laura Freeman - News - Sidmouth Herald
With the protest seeing Exmouth residents marching through the streets on Saturday, November 12, calling for more consultation about the future of the town’s seafront, the Journal here explains the background to the proposals.
Seafront protest: History of redevelopment plans explained - News - Sidmouth Herald
In response to calls for more say on the seafront, Councillor Philip Skinner, chairman of EDDC’s Exmouth Regeneration Board, said developer Grenadier would be holding its own public consultation on a proposed watersports centre at Queen’s Drive, before further consultation during the planning application process.
Exmouth seafront - what EDDC is saying - News - Sidmouth Herald
Campaigners are not impressed:
PROTEST MARCH 12.11.16 | Save Exmouth Seafront
Exmouth Splash - Public Opinion & Discussion Page | Facebook
Neither is the local media.
Here is the report from the EDW blog following on from the cabinet meeting:
18 NOV 2016
"Calls have been made for the sacking of the ‘owner’ of the Exmouth Seafront Regeneration Project after costs spiralled from £1.5million to more than £3million. However, East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) cabinet backed the plans with a majority vote, despite heavy criticism from some councillors." http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/seafront_plans_backed_despite_soaring_costs_1_4780508
Rob Longhurst (Ind), Ben Ingham (Ind) and Eileen Wragg (LD) spoke against, saying that it was incompetence.
Ian Chubb said it was worth paying and he was happy paying the extra costs. Unclear whether he meant worth paying despite the increases or worth paying despite the incompetence, but nice of him to offer to fund the increased costs personally.
Phil Twiss said they had to proceed because to stop would be to go backwards. Of course only true because they have destroyed existing attractions before getting the plans right and before knowing the real costs – so they can’t go back.
Philip Skinner got his words mixed up when he said the plans were iconic but clearly he meant ironic, and thought it was good for Exmouth because they all like doing watersports.
Tom Wright obviously thought the debate was about football not water-sports because he kept referring to the premier league, and said that Exmouth residents should be grateful for the cost increases.
Honestly, Trump or EDDC Tories – not sure which are the greater fantasists!!”
Exmouth seafront cost increase – fantasy, incompetent, iconic or ironic! | East Devon Watch
And here is the full report from the Exmouth
Seafront plans backed despite soaring costs
18 November 2016 Daniel Green
Cllr Tom Wright is pictured at Steamer Steps overlooking Budleigh beach where the water quality have achieved a 'good' status. Ref exb 6131-46-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn
Calls have been made for the sacking of the ‘owner’ of the Exmouth Seafront Regeneration Project after costs spiralled from £1.5million to more than £3million.
However, East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) cabinet backed the plans with a majority vote, despite heavy criticism from some councillors. The area between the old lifeboat station and The Maer has been earmarked for the regeneration project.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Councillor Rob Longhurst said: “I call for the resignation or sacking of the owner of this project. I am totally appalled by the budget figures. They demonstrate a total incompetence in organisation, a complete lack of financial control of the project and a total disrespect to the public they serve.”
Cllr Eileen Wragg called for EDDC to start the plans from scratch again. She said ‘the sums’ were wrong, adding: “I am minded to say that I know it’s pretty late, but let’s get it right. Can we perhaps go back to the drawing board?”
Cllr Ben Ingham added: “There is a lack of genuine and comprehensive public consultation whereby you actually ask the community what they want to happen before you start and then make sure you are on track with their requirements.”
Councillors did, however, show their support for the plans.
Cllr Ian Chubb said, despite the extra costs, the money was worth paying. He said: “I am quite happy with the extra cost. I think £3million is not out of the way and I do believe we will be selling Exmouth short if we try to do it for £1million pounds.
Cllr Phil Twiss said: “We can’t stand still because if you stand still, you are going backwards. The economy of the town needs a boost. We will need, where we can, to offer people jobs and this development will provide jobs.”
The chairman of the Exmouth Regeneration Board, Cllr Philip Skinner, said moving on with the project was best for the town. He said: “This is a great opportunity with an end user wanting to build something that is really iconic. Many people can involve themselves in water sports aspirations around Exmouth’s seafront.”
Cllr Tom Wright added: “We are in the 21st century. The Queen’s Drive project will potentially bring Exmouth into the premier league of seaside resorts. There have been problems - we are spending a lot of money, but if I was a resident, I would welcome the fact that this council is willing to invest in Exmouth.”
Seafront plans backed despite soaring costs - News - Exmouth Journal