District council set to ‘re-engage’ over the future of Queen’s Drive development

Major changes to the future of Exmouth seafront could be on the cards – with the existing proposals thrown into doubt.


East Devon District Council (EDDC) has confirmed that it will ‘re-engage with a new consensus’ for how best to proceed with the Queen’s Drive site.

It follows the formation of a new administration and the coronavirus pandemic having occurred – with the impact of the latter unknown – since the original decision over the seafront was taken back in February.

The current plans to redevelop Exmouth seafront include a waterfront restaurant, an 80-bedroom hotel, as well as an area for play and leisure uses, and back in February, the cabinet agreed to launch a marketing exercise.

But the decision was called in and the council’s scrutiny committee in March agreed that a panel agreeing the selection criteria for marketing it to developers was not properly balanced.

Scrutiny sent its recommendation over the membership of the panel to full council to debate, before sending their recommendation back to the cabinet for a final decision.

But with the Democratic Alliance having taken control it has been confirmed that time will be taken to reflect on and review the proposals and ambitions for the Queen’s Drive site.

At EDDC’s cabinet meeting Cllr Andrew Moulding, leader of the Conservative group, questioned what the status of the Queen’s Drive proposals were.

He asked: “I am anxious that progress is made, so how can we bring things forward so the panel can start their work?”

Cllr Paul Arnott, leader of the council, said things have changed since March.

Mark Williams, the council’s chief executive, said that events had subsequently overtaken the scenario that the council was in back in March.

An East Devon District Council spokesman, when asked to clarify the latest on the proposals, said: “Combined with the economic impact of Covid-19 and our departure from the EU the opportunity will be taken this autumn to reflect upon the proposals and ambitions for the Queen’s Drive area and re-engage with a new consensus for how might be the best way of progressing matters.”