£5m piazza for Exmouth

PUBLISHED: 01:01 21 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:50 10 June 2010

A CONTINENTAL-style piazza is set to become the centrepiece of the town centre as The Strand is earmarked for a major facelift and a potential £5 million investment. Long-awaited renovation plans for Exmouth's popular Strand area home of the war memoria

A CONTINENTAL-style piazza is set to become the centrepiece of the town centre as The Strand is earmarked for a major facelift and a potential £5 million investment.Long-awaited renovation plans for Exmouth's popular Strand area - home of the war memorial - will officially hit the drawing board - backed by a £200,000 design fund, writes Robin Leeburn.A county council commitment to funding follows years of proposals and half-hearted schemes - and boosts a town council pledge for a three-phase blueprint for regeneration.A pedestrianised Strand will likely surround the gardens and war memorial, creating a vehicle-free zone between the Imperial Road junction and probably St Andrews Road. It is thought existing paving at the Cafe Quarter, Manchester Street and Tower Street will be extended across the area. Temporary safer pavements outside Exmouth Indoor Market were laid last year with a complete overhaul of the area in mind.Town council deputy Mayor Daryl Nicholas - who highlighted a piazza development for the Strand - said: "It's great to see the start of a commitment to this area from both district and county councils. "With all three councils working together, momentum is genuinely beginning to build towards creating a town centre that will be exciting and vibrant."Design work will begin once district council members agree to a Devon County Council request for £100,000 match funding to achieve the design fund. An EDDC report has spoken of "major enhancement" works, potentially costing up to £5 million.However, the speculative figure is unlikely to be reached. A DCC spokesman said though the authority was committed to Strand improvements, "there is no estimated cost at this stage" - other than the £200,000 design fund. A local authority partnership approach has seen similar works across the county.Exeter's £3.6 million Cathedral Green area is busy all year-round with cafe life. A Barnstaple scheme, likely to be more on Exmouth's scale, cost £1.5 million to pedestrianise the town square, with an existing road now access-only.Partnership work bodes well for Exmouth, according to EDDC corporate director for environment Karime Hassan, who added: "There is potential for something really special at The Strand."The scheme could yet be affected by the need for work re-routing Exmouth's town centre roads due to supermarket proposals.Town ward county councillor Eileen Wragg welcomed investment and added: "Everything will hinge on traffic plans, and there are a lot of issues to be looked at.

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