A blueprint to transform Exmouth’s seafront has been given the greenlight, and will mean the demolition of the Harbour View Café and probably the coastwatch tower.

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District planners this week rubberstamped outline plans for the newly-named Queens Drive Leisure area.

And they confirmed their plans to either ‘extensively refurbish’ or rebuild the iconic seafront building to provide a modern café and restaurant.

A spokesperson for East Devon District Council (EDDC), told the Journal: “There is a view that the tower is architecturally quite interesting, but that the rest of the building (the Harbour View Café) is not. My personal view is that it would be easier to have a new building and a new tower. There is also some question if the existing tower is big enough for their (National Coastwatch Institution’s) purposes.

“We are open to suggestions when it comes to the design.”

The Queens Drive plans span almost a mile, from the café to the new RNLI Station, and could include shops, a second hotel, car parking, and play areas.

They also include the ‘realignment’ of Queens Drive to give easier access to the beach.

However, a previous emphasis on a watersports centre, initially proposed to the west of the cricket club, has been lessened with the centre likely to be moved further from the beach to up to five metres inland.

Ms Timberlake added: “This would keep a continual view along the seafront in both directions and free up public space.”

However, the ‘fine detail’ of the blueprint is unlikely to be finalised until the middle of next year.

But what it does do is provide a tangible selling point for Exmouth – regeneration bosses will begin the task of marketing the site in the new year in an attempt to persuade the private sector to invest in the town.

Developers would then need to obtain detailed planning consent before any work took place.

Councillor Andrew Moulding, Exmouth Regeneration Programme Board chairman, said: “This is an exciting step forward and will give investors confidence that Exmouth really is open for business.”

Exmouth mayor and town champion John Humphreys added: “It is crucial that we offer all-year-round entertainment as well as providing quality accommodation, cafés and restaurants, and public open space for visitors and locals to enjoy for years to come.”

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