£1.24m for town from hall sale

PUBLISHED: 12:26 31 July 2013 | UPDATED: 12:27 31 July 2013

Premier Inn

Premier Inn

Archant

Exmouth’s council-owned Elizabeth Hall, its car park and toilets, were sold for £1.247million, the Journal can reveal this week.

The buyers, Whitbread PLC, who are building a 60-room Premier Inn on the site, will also pay an extra £202,000 in developer contributions.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) bosses have pledged that all the cash will be ploughed back into Exmouth.

The details were revealed at a meeting of EDDC’s cabinet.

Council bosses said that part of the sale price would be spent on the Queens Drive ‘Splash’ project, which will include a play and recreation area, a water sports hub, retail areas and an amusement arcade.

They plan to submit an outline planning application for the project within ‘the next few weeks’.

The remainder of the cash would be spent on the re-building of Mamhead Slipway, with the extra £202,000 spent on ‘community infrastructure’.

This could include the upgrading of public toilets and more seafront signs.

At the meeting, it was also revealed that four supermarket giants were vying to develop the rugby ground, and a second hotel on Queens Drive was still on the cards.

Council leader Paul Diviani said that cash from the sale of assets would normally go to where the ‘need was greatest’ in East Devon - and, in this case, that was Exmouth.

Chairman of the Exmouth Regeneration Programme Board, Andrew Moulding said: “The people of Exmouth would not think it right if we did not invest the receipt from Elizabeth Hall into other projects in Exmouth.”

The council’s deputy chief executive, Richard Cohen, said that contracts for the transfer of the Elizabeth Hall site would be completed by next week, with building work beginning ‘soon.’ But he admitted that there would still be a cash shortfall for the Queen’s Drive ‘Splash’ and Mamhead Slipway projects and EDDC would apply for funding from other sources, including the European Union.

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