Change will bring benefits

The chairman of Exmouth’s largest community group has said that local councillors and officers should be given flowers and not ‘brickbats’ for their efforts to revitalise the town.

Currently there are petitions to prevent the Elizabeth Hall and the Coast Watch Tower from being developed as part of the seafront regeneration plans outlined in the Exmouth Masterplan.

The new Strand has divided opinion and plans for a glass-fronted pavilion were pulled at the eleventh hour earlier this year.

And the enhancement of the Geoneedle at Orcombe Point and Queen’s Drive are soon to be completed.

But Roy Pryke, chairman of the Exmouth Community Association has praised the heavily criticised town council, East Devon District Council and Devon County Council.

He said: “I am fully aware of the concerns some have about changes to the town… let us first register the improvements which, while not perfect in every respect, have benefited Exmouth’s residents, visitors and businesses in the past year or two.

“Our political representatives and council officers are often criticised. They are used to receiving brickbats, but we should be ready to give them bouquets and to recognise that they and their planners, urban designers and architects do have the experience and vision to enhance our environment and our lives. Working with them positively and constructively will bring real benefits to all of us.”

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He said what was important was for Exmouth to discuss on an ‘informed basis’, to be consulted and for visionary but realistic plans to be drawn up.

He said the town council alongside with community organisations the Civic Society, Exmouth Residents’ Association, Exmouth Citizens’ Forum, and Transition Town Exmouth, had continued to work on issues that have an impact on the quality and prosperity of Exmouth.

He said: “We have underlined that the acceptability to us of any of the proposed developments will depend on the quality of the detailed plans for each site.

“Our approach, as always, will be to consider the proposals carefully, to engage in meaningful discussion with the three councils.”