Sunday, 25 October 2015

Redeveloping Exmouth >>> 'sad' and 'dangerous'

The redevelopment project which is happening most in East Devon
Futures Forum: Redeveloping East Devon >>> of 'income streams' and 'regeneration'

is happening in Exmouth:
Futures Forum: The 'regeneration' of Exmouth seafront

Not everyone is ecstatic about it:

Exmouth business owner: I'm so sad at prospect of losing historic Harbour View Cafe

By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: October 24, 2015

Harbour View Cafe: leaseholders Ann and Bernard Hughes and their daughter Dawn Hirst

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An Exmouth business owner has expressed her sadness at losing a café which has been in her family for more than 40 years.

The Harbour View Café has been an iconic part of Exmouth seafront since 1896.

The building has been a bath house, a residence and a yachctlub. It was even used by American soldiers during the Second World War before becoming a café.

It also holds a huge place in leaseholder Dawn Hirst’s heart since her parents took over the lease of the café in 1977.

“I was seven when they bought the café. I used to pop in there after school and sit on the freezer, swing my legs and tell the manageress I would have her job one day! I just loved it down there even from an early age – it was part of my growing up and part of my childhood. We used to go to the play park, which is also under threat, as children and we have pictures of us all on the horse things.

“I have pictures of myself, sisters and cousins and then my children on there as well. I have lovely childhood memories of the seafront in general.”

In 1999 Dawn joined the family enterprise and became a leaseholder of The Harbour View cafe alongside parents Ann and Bernard Hughes. “I always loved the building, the café and going to chat to the customers when I was little,” she said.

“I guess I always loved being down there. It was so much part of my childhood that I guess it became a natural thing to do and to want to be involved going forward. Going down there every day and seeing the beach in summer and winter, it’s always different. It’s a part of me and I love that place a lot.”

Earlier in the year it was announced that Exmouth seafront, where the café is situated, would be undergoing an £18m redevelopment. It is still unclear how long the Harbour View Café will continue trading.

Dawn said for 18 months the existing traders were excited about the redevelopment, until it became increasingly clear they wouldn’t be a part of it.

“I was absolutely gutted when I realised we were surplus to requirements,” she said.

“We suddenly realised that our time might be running out down there and for myself, I’ve spent my whole working life down there, I still don’t know what I’ll do next. I feel lost at the thought of losing it. We’re living on a day by day, hand to mouth situation until we know more. We say to our customers we are still here. The doors are still open at the moment. Whilst we are still here there is hope.”

Exmouth business owner: I'm so sad at prospect of losing historic Harbour View Cafe | Exeter Express and Echo
Exmouth seafront trader sad about “regeneration” plans | East Devon Watch

See latest at:
Exmouth Splash - Public Opinion & Discussion Page

But it seems that to question such regeneration is not only dangerous for business owners:


22 OCT 2015

Mysterious words from EDDC Leader Paul Diviani at the latest Full Council apparently. They tumbled out in response to a barrage of questions from IEDA Councillors, following issues raised by representatives of the Save Exmouth Seafront (SES) campaign.

East Devon Watch has received this summary:

“Cllr Megan Armstrong quoted from Exmouth Regeneration Board minutes (7th Oct 2015) which state that the area was being regenerated “for the wider benefit of Exmouth” . Was this statement, and other justifications for the seafront development, “based on facts, assumptions, or wishful thinking by the Council”, she asked?

Cllr Ben Ingham picked up her point, saying that the Council should “tell the truth”, that their Exmouth seafront plans were to make money to fill an anticipated gap in their finances. It was “total rubbish” to pretend it was “for the wider benefit of Exmouth”.

Cllr Ingham also referred to concerns raised at public question time about EDDC’s choice of partnership company for the seafront development. SES had sent Councillors their research on the matter. But Cllr Cathy Gardner’s proposal that the Scrutiny Committee should check that due diligence had been properly done, was summarily dismissed by Leader Paul Diviani. “You are wandering into territory that is very dangerous”, he told her.

A (combined?) written reply to the Independent Cllrs was promised.”

More on the Save Exmouth Seafront campaign on BBC RADIO DEVON’s breakfast programme today and on RADIO EXE.

Some background here:


Exmouth seafront “dangerous territory” says council leader | East Devon Watch

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