Seafront tower plan rejected

Plans to build an eight-storey tower block on Exmouth seafront have been rejected by East Devon District Council.

The building, which would have contained 14 apartments and three shops, was to be built at Pier Head, near Exmouth Marina, at the corner of Victoria Road and The Esplanade, writes Sean Keywood.

It had previously drawn objections from Exmouth Town Council, residents and community groups, and led to concerns being raised by the Environment Agency, Natural England and the RSPB.

Despite objections, EDDC planning officers had previously recommended approval for the scheme, saying the building would deliver a landmark building for the site, as proposed in the Exmouth Masterplan.

However, when district councillors considered the plan at a development management committee meeting this week, they unanimously rejected it, saying its bulk, size and height would cause loss of light and privacy to neighbours, and would impact the River Exe on land and sea.

The decision came after speeches against the development from residents and councillors.

Cllr Steve Gazzard, speaking for Exmouth Town Council, said: “Iconic building? I don’t think so. This would be a blot on our seafront and a carbuncle.

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“In my opinion, this has been driven solely by the Exmouth Masterplan, and what’s not being taken into account is what’s best for Exmouth and what the people’s views are.”

Cllr Eileen Wragg, speaking as a member for Exmouth Town ward, said she feared the building would be unsafe, due to the site’s high risk of flooding and potentially unsafe ground.

The applicant, Chris Fayers, of Eagle One, also attended the meeting, and said the plan was for a landmark building, which would complete the Exmouth Marina project, and had been designed after extensive consultation with planning officers.

Councillor Vivien Duval-Steer said: “This thing is absolutely hideous. It may look fine somewhere like Putney or Chelsea, but not on Exmouth seafront.”

Councillor Phil Twiss said: “This building is absolutely dreadful.”