More open spaces to be closed for private events, say council.

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 January 2018

Exmouth's Manor Gardens. Picture: Simon Horn. Ref exe 9929-17-14SH

Exmouth's Manor Gardens. Picture: Simon Horn. Ref exe 9929-17-14SH

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East Devon District Council agenda papers say the authority is planning to close public spaces like Manor Gardens and Exmouth beach for privately-rented events.

Exmouth seafront in summer time. Ref exe 33-16AW 3814. Picture: Alex Walton. Exmouth seafront in summer time. Ref exe 33-16AW 3814. Picture: Alex Walton.

Exmouth’s beach, parks and gardens could be closed to the public for privately-rented events such as weddings and festivals, under new proposals.

According to East Devon District Council (EDDC) agenda papers, the authority is considering hiring an events officer to ‘actively market’ its open spaces.

Previously, Exmouth’s Manor Gardens has been closed to the public for private occasions such as weddings and an open-air cinema. An area on the seafront was also used for the observation wheel last summer.

Proposals in the joint overview and scrutiny committee agenda say that these sites could be used for a big screen to show sports and music events.

There could also be Christmas markets, food fairs, and beach volleyball or surf lifesaving championships.

The agenda, for the meeting taking place on Wednesday, January 17, also says £100,000 could be set aside from EDDC’s capital reserve and that charges would be ‘in line with the private sector’.

EDDC says all parks, gardens and beaches are being considered as host venues and that town and parish councils will be consulted.

An EDDC spokeswoman said: “As part of the council’s objective to develop an outstanding economy through being more commercial, we have been making steady progress in improving our events offer and rentals of our assets such as parks and gardens.

“Last year we increased events income from £10,000 to £35,000.

“This has already included a wedding in Manor Gardens, Exmouth, the Exmouth Observation Wheel and other ticketed events such as open-air cinema, where the park or area was closed to the public.

“We consult with the local town or parish council and elected members before such events go ahead.

“Any East Devon District Council parks, gardens, beaches or open spaces will be considered by the council for events bookings or private functions.

“Charges will be in line with the private sector and anyone interested in making a booking, should contact the council on 01395 517528 or visit http://eastdevon.gov.uk/events.”

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