Seafront poll reaction: Campaigners hail 'overwhelming' result
PUBLISHED: 09:47 21 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:56 21 April 2016
Campaigners against proposed redevelopment plans for Exmouth seafront have welcomed the results of a parish poll, which they say sends a ‘clear message’ that more consultation is needed.
The poll, held yesterday (Wednesday), saw a 94.9 per cent vote in favour of Exmouth Town Council writing to East Devon District Council (EDDC) to call for additional independent consultation on plans for Queen’s Drive.
In a statement, campaign group Save Exmouth Seafront (SES) said the result of the poll ‘demonstrates that Exmouth residents do not feel confident to leave the future of Queen’s Drive in the hands of EDDC’.
The group described the total of 4,754 residents who turned out to vote as a ‘strong turnout’, as there were no postal votes or ballot cards, some altered polling stations, and what the group describes as ‘minimal online promotion of the poll’ from town and district councils.
SES spokesperson Louise MacAllister said: “Despite the complex and wordy question that was imposed upon residents by the returning officer, the high turnout and overwhelming vote in favour of recommending consultation clearly demonstrates what SES have been saying all along; that the residents of Exmouth do not feel that the previous ‘Splash’ consultation of December 2012 to January 2013 in which only 518 responded is sufficient, or relevant to what is now being discussed for the future of Queen’s Drive.
“It is just a shame that it came to having to hold a poll. This could have been averted if only EDDC had agreed to independent, genuine and relevant consultation.”
SES said it was ‘noteworthy’ that the percentage in favour of consultation was in line with the results of a survey commissioned by EDDC Councillor Megan Armstrong last year, and called on EDDC to provide ‘independent and genuine consultation’, and respect its findings.