Sunday, 25 November 2018

Regenerating Exmouth seafront >>> District Council commits to £1.2m costs

Doing up the seafront at Exmouth could be quite an innovative, exciting and inclusive sort of project:
Futures Forum: Regenerating Exmouth seafront >>> HemingwayDesign portal launched

But is it going to be?
Futures Forum: Regenerating Exmouth seafront: a posh restaurant and a watersports centre

In fact, there's still a lot of confusion and uncertainty:

Doubts emerge over new Exmouth watersports centre - which is already behind schedule

Work to realign Queen's Drive was supposed to start in September

Daniel Clark Local Democracy Reporter
6 NOV 2018

The developer behind Exmouth's swanky new watersports centre has confirmed it is still going ahead with the project after doubts emerged.

Planning permission was granted in June and works to relocate Queen’s Drive to allow the watersports centre to be built was due to begin in September. But some conditions of the planning permission have not been signed off and work has yet to begin on realigning the road.

East Devon District Council’s cabinet unanimously agreed on Wednesday night to commence realignment of Queen’s Drive without further delay, even though there is a risk that the council will have incurred the £1.2m costs of developing the road and car park without Grenadier committing to build the watersports centre.

Cllr Megan Armstrong added: “The council is incurring costs without Grenadier being legally committed to this. If the council wants to spend decision on a road to nowhere, then I despair at that.”

She also was concerned about how late the item was added to the agenda, as councillors were only informed about it late on Tuesday night.

She added: “My own view is that this is manipulative management by sending it out papers as late as possible for a major decision. This is simply not acceptable. Members should have had more time to assimilate the information and digest what it is saying. 
You have people missing the meeting tonight because it is Halloween or have previous commitments, and once again, I feel very pushed and manipulated into making a decision on this in as short a period as possible. How can decisions be made on such flimsy information?”

No information about why the report came out so late was revealed at the meeting.

The cabinet was told they should be reassured independent commercial property advice as to alternative options to create a marketable site for appropriate and high quality mixed leisure use, in the event that the Watersports centre does not go ahead as planned, had been taken, and by proceeding with the road and car park works and creating the waterfront site, they were are ensuring that the overall regeneration project remains on track.

The realigned road, and the Queen’s Drive car park, is the first of three phases to regenerate the seafront area.

Phase 2 will see a new watersports centre built by the council’s development partners Grenadier, with work expected to begin on the centre next year.

Consultation on phase 3, for a mixed use leisure area, has begun. HemingwayDesign has been asking for everyone to give their views and ideas about the future of Exmouth’s Queen’s Drive site and its role for the future of the seafront and the town, and a report on that feedback is expected to go to the Exmouth Regeneration Board in November.

Doubts emerge over new Exmouth watersports centre - which is already behind schedule - Devon Live

The Town Council has now agreed to the plans:
Exmouth seafront regeneration: Town council backs Queen's Drive Space extension | Latest Exmouth News - Exmouth Journal

But campaigners are still very unhappy:
Save Exmouth Seafront - Public Opinion & Discussion Page - Home | Facebook 

With reports from earlier in the week:

Save Exmouth Seafront campaigners challenge ‘arrogant’ Queen’s Drive plans

21 November 2018

Becca Gliddon

Queen's Drive road and car park, Exmouth, which is set to be re-aligned as part of the seafront regeneration scheme. Picture: Google

Save Exmouth Seafront campaigners have expressed concerns after East Devon District Council pushed through plans to realign the Queen’s Drive road and car park.

Seafront campaigners have hit out at ‘arrogant’ plans to fast track the redirection of Exmouth’s Queens Drive to make way for a new watersports centre.

Save Exmouth Seafront (SES) said it ‘views with grave concern’ the decision by East Devon District Council (EDDC) to proceed with diverting Queen’s Drive behind the proposed Watersports centre, because the decision was ‘taken at very short notice’.

The campaign group’s concerns are in response East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) cabinet approval for work to begin on phase one of the regeneration, despite no ‘legal commitment’ from Grenadier Estates for ‘phase two’.

Nick Hookway, SES chairman, said: “This decision by the EDDC cabinet, taken at very short notice and voted through before residents had a chance to speak, shows yet again the arrogance of this council and the contempt with which residents’ views and concerns are considered. This decision raises a whole range of questions.”

He said the campaign group wants to know why the new road is being moved behind the before the developer has fully signed up to the project, and questions why EDDC was funding it.

The group asked what would happen if Grenadier Estates did not go ahead with the watersports centre and whether there was a contingency plan, fearing residents face a future with a derelict seafront site.

EDDC said it was ‘making sure’ it was on track to deliver what residents want.

An EDDC spokeswoman said: “The council is not prepared to allow further delays on the delivery of a new road and car park, which will pave the way for the much awaited water sports centre and a vision for the wider Queen’s Drive site.”

She added: “We also appreciate that there are a number of long term detractors who have their concerns about how the new seafront is taking shape, so we want to provide reassurance that we are constantly keeping under review the programme of development and maintaining progress while keeping Exmouth people informed on what we are doing.”

She said the council was ‘fully committed’ to the ongoing consultation with the public about changes to the seafront.

“Save Exmouth Seafront campaigners challenge ‘arrogant’ Queen’s Drive plans” | East Devon Watch
Save Exmouth Seafront group challenges redirection of Queen's Drive | Latest Exmouth News - Exmouth Journal

Meanwhile in Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: "Why is Sidmouth being left a little behind?" 
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: questions raised at full District Council meeting
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> "What were all these plans, meetings and consultations actually FOR? What we are ending up with is nothing like what was initially planned, or discussed or consulted on."

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