Call for new Rolle group

PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 November 2009 | UPDATED: 12:19 10 June 2010

As I was not invited to present our views at the special council meeting held at the Town Hall on Monday night (November 10), I can empathise with those present who felt angry and frustrated because they did not feel Devon County Council had given them a

As I was not invited to present our views at the special council meeting held at the Town Hall on Monday night (November 10), I can empathise with those present who felt angry and frustrated because they did not feel Devon County Council had given them a fair hearing before turning down the appeals to buy the main Rolle College site for the community college.

However, anger and invective have little place at the negotiating table and I wonder what lessons have been learnt from this sorry business. I am personally at a loss to see how an educational use for Rolle can now be salvaged from the rejection of Exmouth's proposals and yet that still seems to be the hope of many of the parties involved.

We feel that with the emphatic collapse of the Rolle bid, a more focused approach is needed if the site is to be saved

Over the last weekend, the committee of the ERA prepared this formal statement of its position on the Rolle issue:

"The Exmouth Residents' Association (ERA) believes the main Rolle College site, positioned as it is close to the seafront and the town centre, is strategically important to the town. It is inconceivable that a similarly placed site of this size and significance will become available in the future. As such, it is strongly against allowing this site to be used for housing.

"It is committed to securing the site for the benefit of the people of Exmouth, whether that be for commercial, educational or community use, or for any combination of these.

"In 2005, when Plymouth University announced the closure of Rolle, the ERA worked hard to prevent this. It organised a presentation, on behalf of Exmouth residents, in the hope of dissuading the key university staff from leaving the town.

"The association now believes that a new group should be set up to secure the site for Exmouth, whilst exploring and making proposals on how it might be used. ERA would wish to have representation on this group."

In the limited time available, it has obviously not been possible to elicit the views of all our members on this, however the matter will be fully discussed at our next meeting (Open Door Centre, Tuesday, December 1, at 7pm).

The ERA will continue to do whatever it can to ensure that the Rolle site is purchased for Exmouth.

Geoff Morris,

Chairman, Exmouth Residents' Association,

9 Trinfield Avenue, Exmouth.

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