“The owner of an Exmouth café has been left ‘heartbroken’ after being forced to close following plans to build a multi-million pound development on the seafront.
The family-run Harbour View Café and Chip Shop is set to disappear from the seafront after 40 years of trading, following East Devon District Council’s plans to build new development called Queen’s Drive Leisure Area. …
… Dawn said that they first found out about the development plans eight years ago.
She said: “The initial plan was that all of the independent businesses would be involved in the new development.
“I don’t know when that changed because it all went very quiet for a while, and then by 2014 we were given a formal notice and the council said we had to leave by September that year.
“At that point we had to decide whether we wanted to take it further and go to court or to agree to the end of the lease. And because we didn’t have the resources to take the fight all the way we had no other option but to agree to it.”
Since that point Dawn said that the council had given them an extension of their lease, but now that has ended and 2017 will be the last season. “I am grateful that the doors aren’t closed yet, but we did think that we would have at least another year of trading,” she added.
“The council have told us that we need to be out by the end of August, but I just wish we knew why. For the business to close in the peak of summer is the worst time for us as we will be so busy.
“We also have 19 members of staff that we will have to make redundant and we will still have to pay our mortgage somehow after August.
“Obviously we would love to keep Harbour View alive and we are currently looking for a new home. But it just scares me to know what the development is going to look like in three years’ time as I don’t know what I will be looking at.” …
… A spokeswoman for East Devon District Council said: “Change isn’t always easy to accept but Exmouth is a growing town with residents and visitors whose desires and expectations are changing as well. The council is committed to giving townspeople and visitors more and better attractions and facilities and that includes the Queen’s Drive site. Exmouth is the biggest town in Devon and it is starting to up its game.
“The café operators have known for two years that the Council is taking the site back and we have during that time supported them with a further season extension and free rent. We did this so that they have time to prepare to leave and plan for the future of their business.
“Mamhead Slipway, the Strand, the Premier Inn and M&S are all signs that Exmouth is embracing change and benefiting from new assets. A café at Orcombe Point could be next. Meanwhile Queen’s Drive investment is getting back on track.
“When the Council takes the Harbour View Cafe site back at the end of August we will also be preparing to move the road and car park and consultation will be under way on the water sports centre. For the Harbour View site in particular, once the council has it back, then we have the freedom to consider the best way forward and the best timing to bring a new and fresh eating place to what is one of the finest locations in the south west. …”