Devon’s doomed plan for luxury Dubai-style resort in Seaton, Philip Skinners “Big Stage”

And some of the other more bonkers plans over the years have been recalled from the archive by Daniel Clark

Two of these are of particular interest to East Devon see devonlive for the others.

AN INDOOR SPORTING AND CONCERT ARENA – Cllr Philip Skinner’s big idea to bring in the crowds

At one stage, there were tentative plans for an indoor sports stadium and concert arena with a capacity for 20,000 people to be built in the Greater Exeter area. At the time, East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon and Teignbridge councils were preparing the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan to cover matters for their area.

The plan would have seen 57,000 new homes built across the four council areas by 2040, as well as infrastructure improvements. But during discussions, the idea of developing a regionally or nationally significant sports arena and concert venue was floated.

The idea was initially suggested by the then East Devon District Council’s deputy leader Cllr Phil Skinner and was supported by the then leader of Teignbridge District Council Cllr Jeremy Christophers.

Cllr Christophers at the time said: “We are seeing what we can provide around an indoor sports facility and a concert arena and to see if it is deliverable to have one in the area. We are looking at the evidence of need for a sport zone and a concert venue that could host 10-20,000 in the area. We would need to make sure it stacks up financially, but it is welcomed and we think there is a need for it.

“There is nothing this side of Bristol like it that can give a year-round audience in a stadium of about 10-20,000 people. We feel that there is a need for this, but we will have to see whether it is what the people want.”

However the plans never came to anything. And then GESP collapsed in 2020 when first East Devon District Council, and then the rest of the councils, pulled out of the plan.


Now it was always questionable how legitimate this plan actually was. But the ambitious Dubai-style development off the coast of Seaton never happened.

Back in 2017, the plans, which included luxury floating holiday accommodation pod, a 2,000 berth marina, and a showpiece viewing platform, were hosted on the Feniton Park Ltd website.

They were part of ‘The Future Vision For East Devon Marina’ and the scheme which was in the early design and research stage, would have seen luxury floating holiday accommodation pods, water sports, a 2,000 berth marina, as well as new coastal defences and would incorporate wave and wind energy.

An artist impression of the East Devon Marina project (Image: Feniton Park Ltd)

At the time, a statement about the East Devon Marina scheme said: “This environmentally sensitive scheme will incorporate wind/solar and wave energy as part of an exciting holistic approach to improving the coastal defences for the stunning Jurassic Coast of Devon and Dorset.

“The master plan visualises a variety of uses to supplement the proposed 2.5km of new coastal defence works including a new 2000+ berth marina, luxury floating holiday accommodation pods with private berths, water sports and training area and potential fish farm along side retail and leisure space on the central promenade together with a showpiece viewing platform.

“Early design research stages are underway to ensure any proposed scheme enhances the local environment as well as providing enhanced coastal defence and economic gains to the area both in the short and long term.”

Councillors in Seaton at the time described the scheme as ‘highly speculative’ – and they seem to have been proven right, as the plans were removed from the ‘future projects’ section of the Feniton Park Ltd website several months later.

Would this have been Seaton’s answer to Exmouth’s “Ocean”? – Owl