Latest Strand shelter proposal criticised

A view of the Strand Gardens in Exmouth. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 5026-16-11SH

A view of the Strand Gardens in Exmouth. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 5026-16-11SH - Credit: Archant

Long-awaited plans for a shelter on Exmouth’s Strand look set to be opposed by district planners.

Following years of debate about whether a new building should be a ‘bog-standard’ bus shelter or an enhanced community facility, Devon County Council has put forward a planning application for a double-sided shelter with provision for public performances.

The shelter – on the site of the old thatched shelter near the war memorial – would be approximately 12 metres long, and six metres wide.

It would have seats on the Rolle Street side for bus passengers and a raised stage facing the memorial.

The county council says the design is inspired by an Exmouth Town Council consultation in 2012.

The county council itself will rule on planning permission, but East Devon District Council (EDDC) has been consulted as it owns the land.

Councillors on EDDC’s development management committee will have their say at their meeting on Tuesday, but ahead of that meeting district planning officers have recommended they object.

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They have raised concerns about the proposed five-metre height, and design, which they feel would not fit in with what is a conservation area for planning.

In a report, officers state: “The design of the proposal is very simplistic and lacks architectural ambition with a metal frame that is very utilitarian.

“The result is a plain, largely transparent structure that does little if anything to conserve or enhance the conservation area to which special consideration must be given.

“Although the proposed shelter and performance space will provide amenity for bus passengers and a valuable public performance space, this social sustainability benefit will be heavily outweighed by the poor quality of the design proposed that is not locally distinctive and does not enhance or conserve the character of the conservation area nor the setting of locally listed buildings such as the Grade II war memorial.”

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