Angry at the loss

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 March 2013

We had a stall in Elizabeth Hall recently, for the first time for several months.

We heard from many residents who are angrier than ever at the loss of our community halls, and we assume that stall holders have been listening to these complaints since October.

More upsetting was the number of returning visitors of all ages asking if the petition had been successful.

Sadly, we had to tell them that all efforts so far have failed.

East Devon District Council seemed to want the halls demolished so the Community Arts and Visitor Centre was not the ‘preferred bidder’ and our Victorian Community Halls and ancient plantation are to be replaced by a Premier Inn adjacent to The Esplanade.

Visitors re-stated their anger and commented that the council should care about current regular visitors, even if they’re not bothered about the community.

We were again ‘greeted’ by several people ‘in the know’ who had told us 10 months prior that we were wasting our time.

We believe the council had made their choice of Premier Inn about a year ago.

Having worked with local authorities, chief execs, officers, MPs and councillors for many years, we are shocked at this council’s methods.

You will recall the council lifted our seafront covenants secretly with £60k of ‘our money’ in order to sell off our seafront.

They did not tell the community they were selling the community halls until the ‘for sale’ sign went up. It was only after research we found two years previously they secretly went to the High Court to clear the way for the developers.

I also believe the swimming pool site also had a covenant.

Was this lifted earlier and how much did the developers pay for this site at the height of the property boom?

It seems our seafront is set to be developed piecemeal and the people of Exmouth and their elected town councillors have no control of the future of our town.

EDDC have told us many times that they own the seafront and expensive consultants have consulted us all, and we are happy for them to capitalise on their assets.

I believe absolute power is firmly in EDDC’s hands, and they seem to be wearing developers hats.

Jilly Green

Chairman of Friends of Elizabeth Hall

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