'Half-baked' decision to close regeneration board in favour of private delivery group slammed by Conservatives.
PUBLISHED: 13:17 09 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:38 09 September 2019
The creation of a district council group set up to deliver the final phase of Exmouth's seafront regeneration has been slammed by the East Devon Conservatives.
The Queen's Drive Delivery Group, created to get the seafront regeneration finished, will meet behind closed doors until the end of the year, replacing the existing Exmouth Regeneration Board.
Cllr Bruce de Saram, chairman of the East Devon Conservatives Association, who has been appointed as a member of the delivery group, has criticised the move, which was ratified at the district council's latest cabinet meeting.
He said stakeholders and Exmouth ward members were not consulted about this 'half baked' decision and claimed openness and transparency has been 'ditched pretty quickly' by the Independent regime, which took control of the council following the May elections.
In response, East Devon District Council leader Ben Ingham said the Queen's Drive Delivery Group will make sure everything is in place after eight years of 'dithering and avoiding tough decisions'.
Cllr De Saram said: "Given the Exmouth Regeneration Board was already up and running, there is clearly no immediate urgency to replace it.
"The proper way to present the proposal for change would have been to consult first with ward members, stakeholders and other interested parties on what they felt was the right way to move forward."
Cllr De Saram, an Exmouth ward councillor for Littleham, said the town 'barely rates a mention' in a statement made by the East Devon cabinet on the first 100 days in office.
Cllr Ingham said: "It is interesting to hear Bruce say Exmouth doesn't get a mention.
"We haven't stopped talking about Exmouth over the last three months, especially Queens Drive.
"The new delivery group is to make sure we get everything in place to move forward after eight years of dithering and avoiding tough decisions.
"Whether Bruce believes it or not, we are planning for an open day in November so people can track all the surveys and consultation, plus get an update from Wayne Hemingway himself about his Queens Drive ideas.
"Then we start making serious choices in the new year.
"Bruce will soon find out as we have just appointed him onto the delivery group.
"I hope he's ready."