Dream up a new Strand

PUBLISHED: 02:01 30 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:12 10 June 2010

EXMOUTH has been invited to dare to dream a future for the Strand in a multi-million project to transform the town centre. As Devon County Council announced a £2 million investment in a world class space" at the heart of Exmouth, consultation began on a

EXMOUTH has been invited to dare to dream a future for the Strand in a multi-million project to transform the town centre.As Devon County Council announced a £2 million investment in a "world class space" at the heart of Exmouth, consultation began on a vision for the area.The radical redesign of The Strand will be led by residents and local businesses as the county council, backed by their district and town counterparts, asked the town what it wanted. A public hub for proposals was set up in The Strand after businesses and community associations were consulted at a Strand venue.DCC director for environment Ed Chorlton, veteran of schemes to pedestrianise and update central spaces across Devon, said: "This is the start of looking at what can be done to turn the Strand into a world-class space."Early discussions focus on the chance to draw visitors to a town centre, 'people-centric', piazza-style meeting place.All ideas are up for discussion, as authorities seek a consensus on the area's layout - with "not insignificant sums" in place to realise final plans.Key concerns will be the future of Strand Garden trees, and how traffic will be re-routed. Pedestrian priority is seen as a major aim.The war memorial's future will be debated, with the Royal British Legion open to its relocation within the Strand.Police hope to use changes to better light the area, and fund new public toilets. An idea for a futuristic 'pop-up' urinal, hidden by day to appear at night, has already been suggested.Local authorities were keen to emphasise the scheme would go ahead regardless of the outcome of plans for estuary-side development, and it would not rely on any money from ASDA.District council director for economy and development Karime Hassan said: "These ideas have come from the community and we have committed funding to the design process to address this."Town clerk John Wokersien added: "[Exmouth] has a bit of history with talking about projects. We can become very negative, so we want good, positive dialogue."Suggestions will be compiled for a full consultation on final designs later this year.Work is expected to begin in Autumn 2009.

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