Council defends response to Exmouth seafront poll
PUBLISHED: 09:33 27 September 2016
District chiefs are facing criticism for 'ignoring' a town poll calling for more consultation on proposed seafront redevelopment.
The poll, held in April, saw a 94.9 per cent vote, from a 17.8 per cent turnout, calling for Exmouth Town Council to request additional independent consultation before any further planning applications were approved for East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Queen’s Drive development area.
The town council made this request in May, yet while EDDC is now preparing to demolish Jungle Fun and the Arnold Palmer mini-golf course in the development area, no further consultation of residents has occurred, angering campaigners.
EDDC says consultation is ‘integral’ to its policies.
Save Exmouth Seafront spokesperson Louise MacAllister said: “The results of the poll sent a clear message that Exmouth residents want to see further independent consultation before any further work is undertaken on the seafront.
“This does not mean only the ‘phase three’ stages of development, but any work including demolitions.
“Therefore, the recent closure and subsequent demolition of Jungle Fun and the crazy golf, and the application to demolish the DJ’s Cafe building, combined with the lack of public response to the poll, all suggest that the result is simply being ignored.”
An EDDC spokesperson said: “Consultation is integral to everything we do and we are satisfied with the repeated public engagement on Exmouth seafront. Time doesn’t stand still and, since the poll was carried out in April, there has been much progress. For example, we have been dealing with court proceedings concerning two of our tenants on the site, which only concluded in late-May.
“Recently, the council decided to look again at how it plans to bring forward the remainder of the site and encourage new ideas to rejuvenate the area.
“In addition, there will be full public consultation around the watersports hub and the new seafront space surrounding it.
“Our councillors and officers are regularly gauging people’s views about what’s best for Exmouth. We will ensure that we carry out the right consultation at the right time.”