At what cost?

REGARDING the Longboat restaurant application at Budleigh Salterton.

REGARDING the Longboat restaurant application at Budleigh Salterton.

Belittling comments on your Budleigh edition front page last week, along with hints of envious sarcasm on the letters page, afforded us a nightmarish glimpse into a future Budleigh Salterton ruled by the self-interested values of a dictatorship of small businesses and developers, where the rest of us are dismissed as worthless.

Under this regime, anyone caught eating a home-made picnic would be frog-marched, flask in hand, and shot; anyone spotted having a meal while enjoying sea views for free from their cars would be beamed-back to the 'Dark Ages' for rehabilitation; anyone discovered visiting the Conservation Area without spending a penny in our shops would be banned from the town; anyone reported protesting that the seascape itself is the ultimate egalitarian 'luxury' experience, not dependent on a restaurant or a seafront home, would be sent for anti-democracy brainwashing; anyone too hard-up (to eat at the restaurant), or too well-heeled (owning a seafront villa), would be publicly humiliated and flogged at the Lime Kilns; anyone seen having a breather on a council bench would be sent packing to Dignitas; anyone heard daring to suggest that Budleigh today is just fine and dandy would have their backside branded 'Dinosaur' and be banished to the nudist beach; anyone moving to Budleigh would have to pass a lie detector test to prove that they really hated the town as it is; anyone not expressing a view about anything would be deemed to represent the majority consensus, while 156 out of 160 people who gave their opinion would be deemed the minority; anyone overheard complaining about noise, smells, traffic, light pollution, view reduction etc from the new Longboat edifice would be lambasted and denigrated in 'Letters to the Editor'; anyone observed enjoying seafront views in inclement weather from the council shelters would be forced to wait in line outside until the sun shone again and the Longboat re-opened.

Nightmares can become reality in a short space of time - it is a slippery slope - just look at Exmouth seafront and marina and's 'Full Planning Permission' can easily become tomorrow's 'Revised Plans' through change of ownership. It is much harder to give reasons for refusal to amendments once the key principles have been conceded.

There are bound to be significant and welcome changes to Budleigh Salterton over time. There may be some benefits to some people from this application.

But any proposed change which threatens the natural beauty of the landscape, or our experience of viewing it, should be challenged with the question: "at what future cost to the community as a whole?" - an altruistic, community-inclusive response which respects all views without dividing rich and poor, young and old, locals and incomers, is what is required.

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