Exmouth councillors back restaurant and flats at Thomas Tucker

The former Thomas Tucker building in Exmouth. Picture: Paul Strange.

The former Thomas Tucker building in Exmouth. Picture: Paul Strange. - Credit: Archant

Exmouth planners have backed the refurbishment of an iconic town centre building – with opposition to the scheme described as ‘hogwash’.

The plan is for the former Thomas Tucker shop in The Strand to be converted, creating a ground-floor restaurant and seven flats.

The grade II listed building has deteriorated since the shop closed nine years ago.

Members of Exmouth Town Council’s planning committee this week voted to back the scheme, despite being told that the Environment Agency had said a flood risk assessment provided was not good enough.

Councillor Maddy Chapman said: “I have never heard such hogwash. The building is falling down, it’s rotting on the inside, falling to bits on the outside. No one has done anything.

“A good firm come along who are going to make it absolutely fantastic and restore it, and they come up with this.

“I’m all in favour of it, I think it’s a brilliant idea.”

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Councillor Bill Nash said: “We know it’s in a flood zone one, like the whole of Exmouth.

“The fact they say they need another report, I don’t think that should stop us approving it. We all want to see Thomas Tucker improved.

“It’s been there for 140-odd years and they’ve never had a flood. It doesn’t worry me too much.”

Committee chairman Councillor Lynne Elson said: “I think we would all like to see somebody in that building.”

Cllr Nash added that a request by the Devon County Archaeologist for archaeological work to be carried out on the site, as the possible location of a medieval quay, was a surprise to him, as this had not been mentioned when other nearby buildings had been restored.

Councillors also heard that an interior staircase, previously cited as an obstacle to renovating the building, was not included in its listed building status.

The committee was told that the applicant, Ferriby Design and Construction, did not yet know who would operate the planned restaurant, but councillors were confident the developer would not choose a pub-style restaurant or takeaway.

Cllr Chapman said: “They don’t want that. It’s going to cost a lot of money. If it’s going to be over a noisy restaurant or a pub they won’t sell the flats.”

East Devon District Council will make the final decision on planning permission.