Exmouth Disease’

I was sad, but unsurprised, to read the comments of J Sinclair in the Journal recently. Here, it is stated that no one is going to come and see our new town centre .

I was sad, but unsurprised, to read the comments of J Sinclair in the Journal recently.

Here, it is stated that 'no one is going to come and see our new town centre'. I find this remark baffling and frustrating, considering the town services one of the largest holiday resorts in the South West and is the biggest town in Devon.

It is this unwillingness to embrace major change that encapsulates what I describe as the 'Exmouth Disease'. The town has been plagued by this syndrome for as long as I dare to remember in its attempts to 'unlock' its potential.

Although I was originally sad to hear of the 'horror' of these trees being felled in The Strand, when checking out the area I was pleased to see some had been modestly retained, and learn that new trees and planting would be undertaken as part of the redevelopment of the site.

If anything, I would argue that The Strand has now been opened up as a vast space, and clearly has a lot of potential.

The canopy the trees created blocked views of the architectural merits of some of the buildings - for example, the interesting roof line above the cinema.

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The Strand project is undoubtedly an exciting prospect for the town, attempting to harness the potential of an area, which has unfortunately become functional only as a venue for drunks being drunk. Is it not refreshing to actually see some significant development and investment finally taking place in the town centre?

However, one does express concern that, in trying to revitalise the area as a space, 'bargain booze' shops are allowed to take up key units on the site.

To remedy this, a policy would be desirable in the new Local Plan to limit this type of use, or even better in a specific 'Area Action Plan' for The Strand, to ensure only a certain character of retail can be established in the area.

There are examples of fantastic places to eat and drink in and around The Strand, which should set a precedent for what can be achieved. However, if bargain booze shops are allowed to further stimulate the growing problem among the town's young and bored, then the regeneration plans in The Strand will all be in vain.

Name and address withheld.

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