Monday, 14 September 2015

Save Exmouth Seafront: public meeting Saturday 26th Sept

The District Council is under a lot of pressure over its plans for Exmouth:
Futures Forum: Developing Exmouth's seafront: "The council would like to apologise for any misunderstanding that has occurred."

Earlier today, it agreed to a FOI request to publish the minutes from the 'regeneration board':
Exmouth Regeneration Board Meetings - a Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council - WhatDoTheyKnow

... which can now be seen here:
Exmouth Regeneration Programme Board - East Devon

This is itself part of an ongoing campaign to have the District Council publish documentation from 'other panels and forums':
Asset Management Forum minutes - a Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council - WhatDoTheyKnow

As covered by the Exmouth Splash Facebook pages:

We are advised that EDDC has finally got around to publishing the minutes of the Exmouth Regeneration Program Board. They begin with a meeting on 3rd February 2011 and run to 28th May 2015. They are a part answer to a Freedom of Information Act request by one of ur members. Details from EDDC can be found at http://eastdevon.gov.uk/…/exmouth-regeneration-programme-b…/
Minutes for Exmouth Regeneration Programme Board (published in the public domain for meetings held from February 2011 onwards)

Exmouth Splash - Public Opinion & Discussion Page

The campaign group has also issued a press statement today, releasing the initial findings of its own survey - which seem to contradict the 'official' survey:

Press release from Save Exmouth Seafront.
Seafront Survey initial findings conflict with District Council’s claim
Following East Devon District Council’s claim last week that it's development proposals for Exmouth seafront had clear public support, the Save Exmouth Seafront (SES) campaign has seriously challenged this statement.
SES is now analysing the Exmouth Seafront Survey which has had more than 1200 respondents. This far exceeds the number of respondents to the District Council’s two consultations in 2011(Masterplan) and 2013 (The Splash) upon which the seafront proposals are based.
Preliminary findings from the SES survey point to a large majority of respondents opposing the current plans for redevelopment.
Many respondents suggest that improving existing facilities is the best way to revitalise Exmouth seafront. This could be best achieved by supporting current traders and maintaining its highly valued and unique character for residents and visitors alike.
As survey coordinator for SES Louise MacAllister said:
“Preliminary findings clearly suggest that residents feel ignored by East Devon District Council. That the council continues to press ahead with the proposals only serves to support the argument that they do not listen to residents; for as these preliminary survey results strongly suggest, the respondents do not support the current plans for a number of reasons.”
The Save Exmouth Seafront group will be holding a public meeting to discuss and act on these concerns at 14:00 on Saturday 26 September 2015, to be held at All Saints Church Hall, Exeter Road, Exmouth.

Exmouth Splash - Public Opinion & Discussion Page

With comment from the EDW:
Exmouth seafront: the latest (but not last) omnishambles! | East Devon Watch

And more information about the public meeting at the end of the month:

Please ensure you are aware of the PUBLIC MEETING DATE Saturday 26th September. Please do join the Facebook event page for the meeting, share the page, and promote the event widely. Please see posts below for a link to the poster you can print and display.
Sat 2 PMAll Saints Church Hall Exeter Road, Exmouth
25 guests

Here's the poster:

Timeline Photos - Exmouth Splash - Public Opinion & Discussion Page | Facebook

Finally, the basic questions are raised by an independent County Councillor:

A letter from Claire Wright: Are Exmouth seafront plans right?

By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: September 10, 2015

By Claire Wright

The Exmouth plans

I SPENT much of my childhood at Exmouth. My dad taught me to swim at Orcombe Point when I was seven. And winter and summer alike my sister and I ferreted about in rock pools with fishing nets – collecting crabs, starfish, pretty shells and little fish, always making sure we returned them carefully afterwards, of course.

We “saved” a jellyfish from certain death by a group of boys and in the spectacular summers of 1983 and 1984, we spent just about every day at the beach running about after Frisbees and swimming to our hearts’ content. It was an idyllic time and we never tired of it.

When we had finished our fun on the beach, invariably we asked for a go on the swan boats in the lake, now run by Exmouth Fun Park.

The plans by East Devon District Council (outlined in the E&E of Thursday, September 4) to redevelop the seafront have long been fraught with controversy, with Exmouth Town Council initially objecting to them in 2013.

The town already sports a multi-screen cinema of course, so one might question why one is also required on the seafront – and what impact it might have on the existing facility.

It isn’t the first time that plans to develop the seafront have been a source of controversy. The much-loved Elizabeth Hall was subject to a 12,000-name petition when it was proposed for demolition to make way for a Premier Inn. East Devon District Council ploughed on with their plans and now the new hotel is open and functioning.

The regeneration plans will also result in the loss of 37 beach huts. Certainly, what I know from talking to business people during my general election campaign, is that some of the existing seafront attractions, such as the unique Exmouth Fun Park, which is around half a century old, have been hobbled by EDDC’s refusal to deal in anything other than short-term leases, which has hugely limited the potential to invest and improve. And staff have left due to job uncertainties. It is a huge shame. Now a new and proactive campaign group has been launched to look closer at the plans. The group is already conducting its own survey to capture people’s views, after EDDC’s own questionnaire results prompted some scepticism. A public meeting will take place later in September. I believe that most people are in favour of redevelopment of an area when they see it is necessary and an improvement on what is already there. The question with the Exmouth seafront plans is whether the majority of residents view it as necessary – and an improvement. The new survey results will make interesting reading.

A letter from Claire Wright: Are Exmouth seafront plans right? | Exeter Express and Echo

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