Thursday, 26 November 2015

Regenerating Exmouth seafront: "It is good that people air their opinions" >>> 90% reject District Council's plans

The District Council has been running its own 'consultation' on the future of Exmouth's seafront:
Cabinet minutes for 2 April 2014 - Queen’s Drive Leisure Area selection criteria - East Devon
22 June 2015 - £18 m waterfront transformation beckons for Exmouth - East Devon
8 September 2015 - Business as usual in Exmouth for existing Queen’s Drive tenants says East Devon District Council - East Devon
Queen's Drive leisure area - East Devon
The Splash 'consultation' - a Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council - WhatDoTheyKnow

The Independent Cllr Megan Armstrong has initiated a survey, the results of which have just been published.

Today's Western Morning News headline is very clear:
Plans for popular Devon resort rejected by 95% of locals | Western Morning News

As was yesterday's in the Express & Echo:

Survey shows ‘95% reject Exmouth seafront plan’

By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: November 25, 2015

Exmouth seafront plans

Comments (2)

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to the redevelopment of Exmouth seafront claim a new survey shows overwhelming opposition to the plans.

More than 1,000 residents and visitors town took part in the Exmouth Seafront Survey, initiated by Councillor Megan Armstrong.

Led by author and analyst Louise MacAllister, the survey aimed to discover if plans for a multi-screen cinema, outdoor water splash zone and adventure golf park were wanted by those who would be using the facilities.

Organisers said the survey showed 95 per cent were against the redevelopment. And they claim it shows widespread support for the businesses currently occupying the seafront. It also revealed many Exmouth residents feel their concerns regarding the plans have been ignored, according to organisers.

There were 271 comments voicing the opinion that the plans would be damaging to Exmouth, and over 60 comments suggesting the proposals were 'financially motivated.'

Cllr Armstrong said: "I was always half expecting people to be concerned about the redevelopment. I put in my election pledge that I wanted to find out what people really wanted because people were saying they weren't too sure.

"At the 2011 masterplan consultation there were very low attendance figures and this was similarly the case at the Splash consolation in 2013. In my mind we needed to get more people responding. East Devon District Council always decide on a plan and then ask if people want it. Local people should decide what is best for their community. I was amazed at the percentage of respondents who said they didn't like the proposals."

She added: "I would advise people to make as much of a fuss as possible. Write to councillors, lobby councillors. People travel from across the UK to Exmouth. The survey even showed that some people would stop visiting the town if plans go ahead."

An East Devon District Council spokesman said: "Councillors have been sent a copy of an analysis of a survey by Councillor Armstrong regarding Exmouth seafront development.

"The council appreciates that a range of views have and continue to come forward regarding the regeneration of Exmouth seafront.

"It is good that people air their opinions to be considered along with the council's previous engagement with Exmouth people and organisations with more public consultation to come as developer plans come forward in more detail. Debate helps the council understand differing views and make informed development decisions.

"The council's plan now is to help ensure the seafront is able to continue to be a vibrant part of Exmouth's appeal. It is important that the seafront can be more open to the public, better linked to the beach and grow as a varied, all-year-round attraction to locals and visitors alike so all can enjoy Devon's premier town."


Paul-F | November 26 2015, 9:03AM

As usual the EDDC spokesman uses a lot of words to say nothing. My précis of his statement would be "Thank you for your input - but we will not be changing our plans."

swalker2000 | November 26 2015, 12:33AM

Just leave Exmouth alone. This whole redevelopment has the whiff of stuffed brown envelopes. Any councillors with a new Mercedes or hot-tub are within suspicion.

Survey shows ‘95% reject Exmouth seafront plan’ | Exeter Express and Echo

With further comment from the EDW blog:
“95% reject Exmouth seafront plan” | East Devon Watch

And from the Exmouth Splash Facebook pages:

The final report from Cllr Armstrong's Seafront Survey can be found here:

click on the above to get the results

I hope you will enjoy reading this report, that you will find it enlightening and that the information will help you to understand a little more about some of the seafront issues and the views and ...
Howard Samuel, Hazel Potter, Laura SJ F and 3 others like this.
Helen Vines
Helen Vines Very interesting. Thanks to those who did this. Wish I'd contributed! Is it to be formally presented to EDDC? I'm sure Exmouth people would be interested to hear their official response to it. Has it been shared with the local press?
Kay Bee
Kay Bee Many thanks to Councillor Armstrong and her volunteers for putting together such a professional piece of work

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to the redevelopment of Exmouth seafront claim a new survey shows overwhelming opposition to the plans. More than 1,000 residents and visitors town took part in the Exmouth...
Natalie Morrison, Jane Marsden, Helen Vines and 5 others like this.
Claire Sharland
Claire Sharland Great result and knocks the previous so say consultation out of the park. Interesting the council say they want to make the sea front more open to the public and better linked to the beach ......
Surely You couldn't get more open or linked than what we have now !

25 hrs
Kay Bee
Kay Bee Let's hope the council listens properly now!
Tim Todd
Tim Todd One would hope so Kay but there is no indication that they will. Their patronising comments in response are nothing more than words when we want genuine and specific promises.
Journal readers may have noticed the letter from The Reverent David Ireson (who is not as far as I know a signed up supporter of Save Exmouth Seafront - and I hope he will not mind me quoting from it) concludes his timely letter with the following comments:
"EDDC does not listen. Its public consultations are perceived to be worthless. It appears to plan in secret. It seems the town council has little influence and meekly submits to EDDC decisions. The owners and staff of the play park and the Harbour Cafe are about to be treated very badly. It is an outrage". 

In the same paper is a letter from Cllr Mark Williamson, a town and district Tory councillor and headed 'Seafront: setting the record straight'. He says he does not know any councillor who would support any major deviation from the Masterplan for this area or the outline planning permission for it. 

He should talk to Councillor Andrew Moulding the deputy leader of the council because he has at least twice, in correspondence, been supportive of residential on the site (One set of correspondence being with myself) 

Cllr Williamson fails to mention that EDDC are seeking to drop the Exmouth Masterplan to which he frequently refers, from The Local Plan. - See EDDC website under Planning 

Cllr Williamson suggests, it seems to me, that everything is still up in the air with regard to developers who approach EDDC with their ideas. I would refer him to EDDC's website and their press release of 22nd June when EDDC announced 

"An ambitious £18 million development to rejuvenate Exmouth’s waterfront has taken a step forward following a decision by East Devon District Council’s Cabinet (June 17, 2015) to enter into detailed discussions with the preferred developers. Bournemouth-based Moirai Capital Investments has put forward proposals to breathe new life into the nine–acre council-owned seafront site at Queen’s Drive with a range of exciting leisure facilities. This follows the marketing of the site by Exeter-based property firm, Jones Lang LaSalle, during 2014." 

Yes, EDDC employed Jones Lang LaSalle to act for them in finding a developer. (You may remember JLL's involvement in finding the developer of Elizabeth Hall) 

But ask yourselves this. What has Cllr Williamson done to press for a genuine consultation with the public of Exmouth? What has he done to clarify the confusion he refers to? Given that the confusion has been generated by EDDC, with comments like 'there will be a public consultation', instead of, 'its all in the hands of the developers to arrange the consultation ' EDDC has portrayed itself as the good guys- but growing numbers are seeing through their hollow words. 

Is it any coincidence that a survey arranged by an Independent Councillor had more people respond to it that both of those run by EDDC put together. Keep writing, keep asking questions.

23 hrsEdited
Alec Huett
Alec Huett Unfortunately our council do not show any great knowledge of what goes on down the sea front, yet as town planners they are making judgments on what can best improve it. I would like any councilor to prove otherwise.

Exmouth Splash - Public Opinion & Discussion Page

This is from the Save Exmouth Seafront blog:
Seafront Survey Results | Save Exmouth Seafront 
Save Exmouth Seafront | Campaign against The Queen’s Drive Development

has also commented on the 'phasing' of development on the seafront:
Exmouth ” phased development” – pull the other one! | East Devon Watch

See also:
Futures Forum: Exmouth regeneration: approving a planning application before concluding the public consultation
Futures Forum: Exmouth jiggery-pokery: "The situation that EDDC have got themselves in is a great chance to assert ourselves in the Neighbourhood Plan."
Futures Forum: Regenerating Exmouth removed from draft Local Plan

No comments: