Monday, 19 June 2017

Regenerating Exmouth seafront: What do the public want?

There were protests over the weekend:
Futures Forum: Regenerating Exmouth seafront >>> further protests planned > Saturday 17th June

With a little video of a very big march from Save Exmouth Seafront:

Exmouth Splash - Public Opinion & Discussion Page - Home | Facebook
Saturday June 17th 2017 – Save Exmouth Seafront

And comment from East Devon Watch:

19 JUN 2017

With current re-thinking on austerity (aka massive Tory u-turn) and new dialogue about social responsibility and inequality (Labour) might it be time to go back to local authorities working for residents instead of being just big businesses sucking up our money for vanity projects for greedy developers?

“Hundreds form ‘conga cordon’ as they bid to Save Exmouth Seafront” | East Devon Watch

And a report from today's Western Morning News:

Hundreds form 'conga cordon' as they bid to Save Exmouth Seafront

By DanielClark | Posted: June 19, 2017

Hundreds of protesters formed a conga cordon around Exmouth seafront on Saturday to around businesses that will have to close at the end of the summer as a result of multi-million pound redevelopment plans.

Plans have been approved for the £18million redevelopment plans which will transform the centre area of Queen's Drive, Exmouth, which includes the construction of a new watersports centre.

But at the end of August, the fun park on the seafront will close, and at the end of September, the family-run Harbour View Café and Chip Shop is set to disappear from the seafront after 40 years of trading.

But Save Exmouth Seafront protesters feel that the plans are not what the public want to see and are concerned that the seafront will be left derelict until the any development comes forward.

Nick Hookway, Save Exmouth Seafront spokesman, said that the group are invigorated after Saturday following the support that they received from the public.

Read more All you need to know about the Exmouth seafront redevelopment

Mr Hookway said: "We were very pleased by the protest. It was a successful march with over 300 people there and had a conga cordon around the area that will be affected by the redevelopment. After the march we had a meeting and had three information tables generating considerable interest and we signed up plenty of support and had lots of discussions about people who weren't aware of what exactly what going on and that the fun park will be closing at the end of the summer. The event was so successful that we are thinking about having stands on the seafront every weekend throughout the summer so people can find out about the proposals."

He added that the feeling he got from speaking to people at the event was that no-one was in favour of the proposals as they currently are.

He said: "Why are the council carrying on with the proposals when there is no developer interested, apart from the watersports centre which is just a small part of the plan. When the fun park closes, the rest of the seafront will just be derelict and it is horrifying the thought of the seafront being all boarded up.

"We are concerned that the area will be left empty and there will be an air of dereliction about the whole site. Why should Exmouth residents have to put up with a derelict seafront as a result of this? There is already an air of dereliction on the site as metal hoardings appear. This is a situation that will get worse when these last two businesses close.

"It is very encouraging the level of support that we received and we will continue to put our point across and hope we will be able to influence the developers when they do put in their watersports centre plans. Most people recognise and do want to see the area given a makeover. But we want something that is built in line with the environment and with the full support of and after consultation with the people of Exmouth. You could come up with something imaginative that would be supported. We are invigorated after the event that was such a success and will continue to get our voice heard."

The council are also close to signing an agreement with the watersports centre developer Grenadier, who will reveal their building designs soon, ahead of submitting a formal planning application later this year.

Cllr Philip Skinner, East Devon District Council's Portfolio holder for the Economy, said: " We have said on a number of occasions that residents will be consulted fully on what is proposed for this vital site on the wonderful seafront of Exmouth. We want to see investment and new, more modern activities there for everyone to enjoy. We look forward to shortly signing an agreement with the watersports centre developer Grenadier who will reveal their building designs soon. Following a period of full public consultation, the proposed watersports centre development will go through the planning decision process later this year.

"We have already received planning permission to build the new road and car park which can begin once a decision on the watersports centre is made. Phase three of the project will see further public consultation independent of any developer and the public's views will be sought as to what they would like to see there. Everyone will get a number of opportunities to have their say.

"It's important to point out that both Harbour View Café and the fun park received notice almost two years ago of the council's decision to end their leases and will have had this period of time to make other arrangements for their businesses. We are disappointed that people continue to put out misleading messages that there will be blocks of flats on this site. There has never been such a proposal."

The council's development management committee gave the green light in April by 10 votes to four to approve the £18million redevelopment plans which will transform the centre area of Queen's Drive, Exmouth. The proposals include the construction a new watersports centre, a hotel with 71 bedrooms, a mini-golf centre, a restaurant, a café, including coast watch observation deck, a 250-space car park and shops.

Read more New cafe at Exmouth's Orcombe Point will be open this summer

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