“Save Exmouth Seafront” group launches

“A new action group has been launched to ‘save’ Exmouth seafront from developers who plan an £18m redevelopment that will see some of the town’s oldest most popular businesses close.

‘Save Exmouth Seafront’, has been formed by concerned residents from Exmouth and the surrounding area to oppose East Devon District Council’s regeneration proposals for the seafront.

In place of the Railway Carriage Café, the Harbour View Café, the Fun Park, DJ’s Café, Jungle Fun and the Crazy Golf Course there is set to be a multi-screen cinema, an outdoor water splash zone and an adventure golf park along with a seafront restaurant, ground floor cafes with outside seating in the open space areas and a ground floor retail area.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) are behind the development which will see Moirai Capital Investments of Bournemouth putting 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.”

Some of Exmouth’s town councillors have expressed reservations when the plans were originally put forward and the traders whose businesses would be demolished are equally concerned. The town council refused to back the scheme in 2013 when it first came up, while earlier this year Dawn Hirst of the Harbour View Café and Chris Wright of the Fun Park both demanded answers to the question mark hanging over their businesses.

Other residents have hit out at the plans with the ‘Save Exmouth Seafront’ group gathering public opinion during the last few weeks through its Seafront Survey, which will be analysed after the closing date of 5 September, with results presented to the Town and District Councils.

Chairperson Roger Thomas says “The change from a well known and much used leisure area, loved both by residents and holiday makers to one of a commercial and residential nature is not an appropriate development for this part of Exmouth seafront, which is a unique asset and should be preserved as such.”

Adding: “We are determined to oppose any such development to protect the seafront.”

The new group will hold a public meeting in the near future to open up the discussion and to consider future actions.

A planning application for the developmentwill be submitted later this year. EDDC said that the existing tenants on the Queen’s Drive site have been informed of the news and can trade until September 30 when work will commence shortly afterwards


6 thoughts on ““Save Exmouth Seafront” group launches

  1. I totally agree with the sentiments. EDDC DO NOT represent what we want in Exmouth. We are just their moneypot!! It amazes me that such corruption can continue. How can we stop it…?


    • We could all have stopped it by not voting in Tory councillors (and people who always vote with Tory councillors) last May!


    • That was an excellent reply, much better then my own. We shall need many more reasons for objecting to what has been a public relations shambles, regarding the question of how EDDC have behaved towards those who will lose their lively-hoods if we were ever to allow, what is intended, by our district council. We must not let it happen.


  2. The Express and Echo story doesn’t fully catch the issues.

    One of the concerns of very many people is that there has been no genuine consultation on the development- this isn’t news of course, it is standard practice for EDDC. In a town with a population of around 35,000 the two surveys produced a little over 500 replies each. (many Exmouth people consider it a total waste of effort replying to any EDDC survey given what has happened in the past) Many of those who did reply were not supportive of the ideas as proposed at the time.
    Most were, I suggest, misled as to what any future development might contain. EDDC used the words The Splash and I know for certain that many interpreted this as a grand water feature with plumes and the like. Now it looks like The Splash element may be more like a few puddles with water jets (great in winter)

    Another great bone of contention concerns the existing businesses. Some of these have been going for several generations and are much loved by locals and visitors. The tenants have long wanted to make improvements and spruce things up but here’s the catch, to be able to do so they need decent leases that will enable them to recoup their costs- and EDDC will not grant any such leases. (memories of EDDC deliberately letting Elizabeth Hall and the outdoor swimming pool fall into disrepair) For all their talk and I quote from one of their publications ” During this time,EDDC has talked closely with and presented early drawings to existing tenants currently running businesses at the site. It has been important to give them all the information they need to assess how and whether they might want to get involved with the new scheme” they have misled us. The truth is that none of the existing businessess have ever had a place in the new scheme, they have been treated appallingly- and we have been misled as to EDDC’s faux support of them.

    Outline planning permission was granted around the begining of 2014 but the most recent plans bear no resemblance to the first proposals. Residential accomodation now dominates the site- what a surprise! There is also retail provision- which seems to many as absurd given how long two of three adjacent retail units at the bowling alley have stayed empty since being built (word is that the third unit, which has been occupied but is now leaving, was on a peppercorn rent in the hope of encouraging tenants next door)

    A cinema and more eating facilities are included- like we need them? ( take away the kids playing space and replace with junk food outlets?)

    A FOI has revealed that the outdoor play area for children is being slashed from an existimg 14,500sq m to 3,430 sq m, that the cinema will occupy 1,180 sq m and food areas/retail 3,060. Residential areas will occupy first or second level (there goes the view) EDDC seem a bit shy on giving details of the size and nature of the residential accomodation – but there seems little doubt that turning this into a largely residential site is the major consideration.

    The new group that wishes to see a halt called to these proposals until a genuine consultation takes place, has only been going for a few weeks but already has considerable support. Much can be seen on its facebookpage at https://www.facebook.com/Exmouthsplash?ref=hl where thousands have visited and many commented.

    My own objections are based on the fact that EDDC has once again acted deceitfully in pursuing these proposals. We are told by councillors that this is what Exmouthians want- well if it is let us have a genuine consultation to prove it and I will stop arguing against it. I also believe that the existing tenants should have been given the chance to let the public judge their plans for their businesses as I am confident they would have met the oft expressed wishes of users that all that might be needed is a bit of TLC and updating.

    Last but not least there is a great deal of unease about some of EDDC’s chosen partners in this project.


  3. I am sorry to say this, but if i was reading this quickly as most Exmouth residents will do so, I would think what EDDC are attempting is very satisfactory.
    Looking at what they say they want to do? Build a multi-screen -cinemar, Build a water-splash-zone, a golf park. a sea front restaurant, with outside seating area’s, along with a ground floor retail area. I would say what is it, we can object to.
    I perhaps would fill a little sorry to those business people who are having to move, but not enough for anybody to want to fight over.
    I might also say why do we want another cinemar, or why put it on the sea front. and others may not see any good reason for pulling down the Harbour View cafe. EDDCs proposals of breathing new life with a range of new leisure facilities will go down well, unless we formulate a program which exposes the extent of damage this large development will do to Exmouths sea front.

    I may be wrong, but this will not win over most Exmouth residents unless we can prove that EDDC intend to build apartments on top of all new retail units, we must explain the whole environment and the openness of the area will change, such as the Madeira walk way which has already lost the views of the sea from behind the Bowling Alley, and that will continual all along this nine acre site, which will dwarf the Town Centre Magnolia Complex. If we take this new development from the Bowl, to the front of the Cricket Ground, which is where the 37? beach huts are being lost, it will show what is intended is a new centre of Exmouth, and it will not stop there, it will extend up to Foxholes in years to come. I will have more to say but this will be enough for now, but we have to act with more determination, if we want to influence people. Thanks Alec Huett


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