‘Give us seafront traders a look-in’
12:46 02 July 2014
A seafront trader whose family-run attraction faces closure after 40 years has blasted council bosses for not considering his plans to develop his business.
East Devon District Council wants to transform part of the seafront into the Queens Drive Leisure Area – and say it will be the last season for the attractions.
But Chris Wright, whose family run Exmouth Fun Park, the Arnold Palmer Putting Course, and Jungle Fun, says he has submitted detailed proposals to improve his business, writes David Beasley.
For 10 years he has urged the district council to grant him a longer lease so he can invest.
Outline permission for a water sports centre, hotel, gardens, indoor leisure, restaurant, shops and car park has been granted.
Mr Wright told the Journal: “They said that they would work with the existing tenants and opportunities would exist for those who submitted suitable proposals.
“We submitted our own detailed proposals. Indeed, elements of the outline design are based on our suggestions.
“Regrettably, we have heard nothing substantive from the council, save that it will be delivered by developers, rather than local existing businesses.
“It is disappointing for me that my suggestions have been adopted but I am not being considered. It is also very disappointing for the town that local businesses are not being given the opportunity to participate in the new development.”
He said businesses had not been kept up to date and information had been ‘vague’, adding: “It is extremely distressing to the traders, staff and their families whose livelihoods are at stake.”
Mr Wright called for a meeting with the project manager, and said: “Our lease has not ended, and does not end this year. We will continue to operate and entertain visitors and residents alike.”
A council spokeswoman confirmed it had received proposals from Mr Wright and others.
“All discussions are ongoing and, clearly, confidential due to commercial sensitivity.
“We have always said that we would like to include some opportunities within the new development for local businesses such as shops, cafes and leisure activity provision.
“Further details of these will evolve throughout the development process.”
She added that they had been in regular contact with their tenants: “Negotiations for developments of this size take time so we can ensure the best possible outcome for the residents of and visitors to Exmouth.”