Exmouth should be a priority

An Exmouth councillor has called on district bosses to make a start on work to regenerate Exmouth and Seaton before money is spent on other towns in East Devon.

District councillor Pauline Stott made the comments at a special overview and scrutiny committee meeting at the district council’s Knowle offices last week.

The meeting was to debate the 2013/2014 district council budget - and the item being discussed was the renewal of town centres in East Devon.

It has been proposed that a total of �30,000 each should be spent on the town centres in Axminster, Honiton and Sidmouth Port Royal next year on ‘visioning’, the High Street and on the ‘public realm’ in the next financial year.

But, while all councillors agreed on the principle that the money should be spent, they disagreed on when.

Councillor Stott, who is also the chairman of Exmouth Town Council’s general purposes and regeneration committee, said progress should first be made on the Exmouth Masterplan and Seaton Regeneration Programme.

Both are blueprints to regenerate the respective towns.

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Councillor Stott said: “If you’re going to go ahead with another three towns, we’d like to see some of the (Exmouth) master plan. I’d like to see this deferred until next year and progress made in Exmouth and Seaton – which you did master plans for.”

But in response to ‘what Exmouth wants’ chairman of the scrutiny committee Councillor Stuart Hughes said: “I’m getting fed up with it.

“They (Exmouth) want to make their minds up whether they want a building, a bus shelter or a band stand.”

The committee voted to recommend that the money be spent in 2012-2013 by a vote of 7-4.