Draft vision for Exmouth is revealed
PUBLISHED: 12:30 01 September 2017
A draft version of a document which could help shape planning in Exmouth for years to come has been produced.
The Exmouth Neighbourhood Plan consultation document follows nearly two years of preparation and consultation, both with community groups and members of the public.
Now, the public are being given the chance to have their say again, with the document to be published online on Friday, September 1. People will be able to comment online for one month, and also at an event at Ocean, Queen’s Drive, on Tuesday, September 19.
Roy Pryke, chairman of the steering group, said: “We’re at the point where we are saying to the residents of Exmouth ‘We have done all this, you have told us what you think, this is what we think you’ve said to us, have we got it right, does it accurately reflect your interests and concerns?’ Please let us know if it doesn’t, as this will be the evidence base that it’s not just a dozen people in a room [developing the plan] - it’s got to reflect what the town is saying.”
The wide-ranging document names six priority areas for Exmouth – the natural environment, the built environment, economy and employment, housing, getting about, and community facilities, with the natural environment named as the top priority.
Among the suggestions it makes are an interpretation/visitor centre on the seafront, which it is suggested East Devon District Council could include in its proposed seafront redevelopment. On the subject of those proposals, for Queen’s Drive, the document says buildings and land use should be primarily for tourism and visitors facilities, of a scale sympathetic to the immediate vicinity, of high quality design, and with the balance between buildings and open space reflecting the existing seafront.
Also suggested are more pedestrianised areas in the town centre, including at Rolle Street and the Parade, and a ‘pedestrian priority environment’ at the junction of Marine Way, Imperial Road and the Parade.
The document also suggests a new road link between Sandy Bay and the south end of Dinan Way.
On health, the document suggests that as well as Exmouth Hospital being retained, a new health and wellbeing hub should be provided for the town.
It also calls for closure-threatened mental health facility St John’s Court to be retained.
An adopted neighbourhood plan has to confirm with existing policies, including the East Devon Local Plan, however it is led by the community, and carries legal weight equal to the local plan.
It would also allow the town to access extra money from the Community Infrastructure Levy on developers, and see the creation of an implementation group which would promote the plan’s policies, and would be consulted by the district council.
Mr Pryke said: “For the citizens of Exmouth this is the first time they have had this opportunity to produce their own vision, which will, in planning terms, carry a lot of clout.”
Steering group member Ian Cann said: “We have to go through a council but it’s totally community led. Exmouth Town Council has to be involved and we’re very grateful that they are, but this is a community plan.”
Following this round of consultation, and the consideration of comments by the steering group, there will then be a round of pre-submission consultation with planning consultees, and with East Devon District Council.
An independent examiner will then be appointed to advise on any modifications, before the final say is given to Exmouth residents, who will vote on the plan in a yes/no referendum, expected to take place in spring next year. The draft document will be available to view online at exmouthneighbourhoodplan.uk