Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Developing Exmouth's seafront: "The council would like to apologise for any misunderstanding that has occurred."

There is a lot of confusion over what exactly is going to happen about the 'redevelopment' of the seafront at Exmouth:
Futures Forum: Redeveloping East Devon >>> the alternatives to a heavy-handed approach
Futures Forum: 'Save Exmouth Seafront' group launched >>> complete the survey by Saturday 5th September

As a recent piece on the East Devon Watch pages noted:


4th September 2015

Yesterday, 3rd September, EDDC updated its page about Exmouth Queen’s Drive Development. (http://eastdevon.gov.uk/regeneration-projects/regeneration-projects-in-exmouth/queens-drive-leisure-area/)

There were a number of striking, and confusing statements within the update. In relation to the current tenants, it listed the dates when there had been communication between the parties. It listed the latest as January 2015. This comes as rather confusing given EDDC’s public claims of keeping the existing tenants fully informed.

This confusion may be explained by a later paragraph which is worth quoting verbatim here.

“Existing tenants:
Businesses currently operating at Queen’s Drive will continue to trade beyond 30 September 2015 until the necessary legal procedures have been followed and concluded regarding their future. We would like to apologise to our tenants and their customers for any confusion or misleading statements that have been in the press. Residents and visitors to Exmouth will be able to continue to use the facilities for the foreseeable future.”
end quote

Explained by EDDC’s confusion and misleading statements that have been in the press perhaps, and news to the tenants?

As recently as the 2nd September, at least one of the existing tenants considered themselves potentially forced out of business according to EDDC and their 30th September deadline.

Not only that, in the Express and Echo story of the 3rd September, EDDC are quoted “EDDC said that the existing tenants on the Queen’s Drive site have been informed of the news and can trade until September 30, when work will begin shortly afterwards.

Another notable omission from EDDC’s page is the absence of any mention of the developers who had put forward the most recent plans – though their June debut still features on EDDC’s website (http://eastdevon.gov.uk/news/2015/06/18-m-waterfront-transformation-beckons-for-exmouth/)

It was this company’s proposals that added significant residential elements to the plans, at, it would appear, the expense of children’s play areas and water play elements. There have been concerns about the favoured developer and some of their past projects.

Elsewhere EDDC have been challenged to provide the evidence for their claims that they have consulted widely, and the inference that their projects are supported by residents and visitors. Their response is eagerly awaited.

Exmouth Splash: EDDC implies: don’t take any notice of what we say! | East Devon Watch

The campaign group garnering local opinion on these projects has asked for clarification:

The appearance, in a page on East Devon District Council’s website, of information suggesting that the existing tenants of Queen’s Drive Exmouth will now not have to cease trading on 30th September, has led to considerable confusion.
Whilst such a decision, to allow trading to continue whilst legal issues are addressed, is an improvement on the earlier situation, a great deal of confusion remains...
See More
A proposed mixed use development
  • Chloe Elizabeth Fox, George Reaveley Johnson, Bev Street and 5 others like this.
  • Laura SJ F Shared!
  • Alec Huett When a Council is willing to spend £50,000 on buying out the covenants on the sea front which had been put in place to stop the whole-sale development of the area in the first place, surely it must verify the intentions of the many well paid adviser's ...See More
The seafront survey is now closed. Thank you so much to all who have taken time to complete and promote the survey. We have had an excellent response rate, data analysis begins now smile emoticon
  • Margaret George, Tricia Cassel-Gerard, Cathy Keep and 10 others like this.
  • Laura SJ F Thank you so much for creating the survey online and for sharing it with the public via this page. I know I'm not alone in appreciating your efforts very very much smile emoticon
We will remind people shortly of the questions that were asked in The 'consultation' by EDDC in regard to 'Exmouth Splash proposal' and how EDDC interpreted the results.
This was run between December 2012 and January 2012- when of course there is nothing else occupying the minds of local people (a well established EDDC ploy)
In the meantime think on question 5. Harbour View Cafe area. "The current Harvbour View Cafe building woud be removed and the site re-developed to make ...
See More

Exmouth is not alone in having a problem... - Exmouth Splash - Public Opinion & Discussion Page

The campaign group notes how this heavy-handedness is not an isolated event:
Exmouth Splash - Public Opinion & Discussion Page - Timeline | Facebook

The District Council has just issued a statement:

Business as usual in Exmouth for existing Queen’s Drive tenants says East Devon District Council

8 September 2015

Businesses operating in Queen’s Drive will be able to continue to trade beyond 30 September 2015

East Devon District Council would like to make clear for the benefit of local residents, as well as its Queen's Drive tenants and customers, that businesses currently operating at Queen’s Drive, who have formally notified the council that they wish to renew their tenancies, will continue to trade beyond 30 September 2015 until the necessary legal processes have been followed and concluded regarding their future. The council would like to apologise for any misunderstanding that has occurred.

This is an exciting but complex regeneration project, and the formal and extensive consultations that have already taken place have shown a clear support for change on the Queen’s Drive site. The latest development proposals currently being discussed, include a free water splash play area, mini golf (the council is currently in discussion with one of the existing tenants with regards to the provision of a new adventure golf facility), a multi screen cinema and a large open public space area – all of which will benefit the town enormously in visitor numbers, attractions for local people and new jobs. There is currently no freely accessible public space and little or no all year round leisure or water sports facilities on the site.

There will be properly organised consultation taking place for the water sports centre proposals as well as the remainder of the site and East Devon will be encouraging local people, organisations and businesses to make their voices heard.

Richard Cohen, Deputy Chief Executive of East Devon District Council said:

"Exmouth is Devon’s biggest town. Its population is growing but also ageing and economic improvement for the town is still fragile. If you want to attract and keep younger people and families then Exmouth needs to modernise and improve its offer to residents and visitors alike and that also means new jobs, new business opportunities and all year round attractions. When regeneration investment happens it works: the Strand is now a hub for events and business activity and the Premier Inn is the top-rated hotel in town. LED are working to make the Ocean Centre a success and Mamhead slipway replacement works will happen next year. The council invests in Exmouth and will continue to do so with Queen's Drive."

"In order to make these changes happen, a huge amount of work goes on behind the scenes with all the parties involved in the transformation, including developers, tenants and lawyers. We are sorry that this is taking a long time but there are no quick fixes. Our officers have worked extremely hard to create workable solutions for them, so that the Watersports Centre and wider Queen's Drive development can continue to move forward and we look forward to sharing further positive news of Exmouth’s regeneration."

"With the exception of the Amusement Arcade, whose lease will not expire for a few years, and Mr Wright, with whom we are in separate discussions, the council made an offer earlier this year to those tenants whose leases have expired. This would have provided clarity on their termination date and confirmed the payment of the statutory compensation to which they may be entitled. At the request of one of the tenants, we even offered to extend the termination date to early 2016. The tenants did not take up this offer. Some of them have decided to contest our notice to terminate their leases and are receiving independent legal advice. This means that we have to deal with these tenants through their lawyers. It is for their lawyers to advise them of what the next steps are regarding their future occupation of the leased premises."

8 September 2015 - Business as usual in Exmouth for existing Queen’s Drive tenants says East Devon District Council - East Devon

As reported in the latest Express & Echo:
Exmouth seafront businesses to continue trading beyond this month ahead of redevelopment | Exeter Express and Echo

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