Bleak forecast next summer?
10:37 23 June 2014
Thousands of tourists could turn their backs on Exmouth next summer, as a result of the seafront’s popular family attractions being closed.
District chiefs are transforming a 300-metre stretch of the seafront, from the old Lifeboat Station to the Maer, into the Queens Drive Leisure Area.
But to become a reality, attractions including Jungle Fun, Arnold Palmer Golf, Exmouth Model Railway and Exmouth Funpark will first have to close at the end of this season.
This will leave a gaping void for at least a year - in fact East Devon District Council (EDDC) has no idea how long the area will be closed for.
Outline permission for a watersports centre, hotel, gardens, indoor leisure activity buildings, café, restaurant, shops and a 270-place car park has been granted.
An EDDC spokesman said: “It was always likely that there will be a period of time when sites on that particular part of the seafront are not actively in business.
“We would aim to keep the length of time closed to a minimum, but without compromising on the quality of the replacement facilities and infrastructure.”
She added: “Until we have finalised future development plans and detailed planning consent is obtained, we will not be able to determine an exact timetable or give a final date for them to vacate the site.”
During the closure, she said they would ‘continue to promote’ Exmouth as a destination and added that more activities would soon be held at the bowling alley.
“EDDC is not able to automatically offer new plots to the current tenants,” she said.
“They have had the opportunity to produce proposals that could fit with the future of the site and, also, there may be shop and café units in a new development available to local businesses.
“This will be part of ongoing discussions with potential developers.”
Chairman of Exmouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Ian MacQueen said: “It is self-evident that you will have periods of closure.
“It is also self-evident, if some business are closed, Exmouth will suffer, because some people will inevitably go elsewhere.
“That said, the long term provision of better all-weather facilities is very important.
“You have to go through some short term pain for long term gain.”