Community asset bid welcomed by Harbour View owner
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 May 2018
A bid to preserve Exmouth's much-loved Harbour View Café for future generations has been welcomed by the family who have run it for more than 40 years.
Dawn Hirst has told the Journal it would mean ‘everything’ if the iconic seafront building – which has been home to her family’s business since 1977 - was declared an ‘asset of community value’.
An application has been entered on behalf of Save Exmouth Seafront to have both the cafe and the former Exmouth Fun Park site opposite given protection which would mean any future sale of either plot would have to be ‘paused’ to give the campaign group time to table a bid.
Both Queen’s Drive sites have been earmarked for redevelopment by landowner East Devon District Council (EDDC) as part of the Exmouth Seafront Regeneration Scheme.
Dawn, 47, said: “It would be nice to get that community backing - it makes you feel you’re doing something right. I think it’s lovely that people want to keep the café as a community asset.”
Harbour View Café’s lease was due to end last September, but it was given a stay of execution allowing it to continue for a year.
“Lots of people ask all the time how long have we got,” said Dawn.
“It has felt like hard work because I don’t know how long we have. Getting staff at this stage is hard because I don’t know if I can offer anything past September.”
At its April meeting, Exmouth Town Council’s planning committee said it could not support the asset of community value application, saying it could prejudice any consultation by recently-appointed seafront regeneration scheme consultants Hemmingway Designs.
Dawn and her staff are gearing up for what could be their last summer at their traditional home and she hopes they might be allowed to stay beyond their September 16 deadline.
She added: “I am hopeful of another year, but maybe that’s wishful thinking. Because we know their consultation won’t be finished until after we close, I am hopeful. I see less reason to close than last year.”
EDDC will make the final decision on the asset of community value bid.