Exmouth wheel: 'We did consult' says council
PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 August 2017
East Devon District Council (EDDC) has responded to allegations that it did not consult enough about the installation of a big wheel at Exmouth seafront.
Members of Exmouth Town Council’s planning committee last week questioned the consultation process before the 28-metre-high wheel, operated by MI-Wheel on EDDC’s Beach Gardens, was installed.
Responding to comments by town and district councillor Bill Nash in particular, Councillor Tom Wright, EDDC’s environment portfolio holder, said he was ‘amazed’ at claims by Cllr Nash that there had been no consultation.
He added that an email detailing the proposal was sent to all Exmouth district councillors and the clerk to Exmouth Town Council on June 15.
“The responses from the councillors who bothered to reply were all supportive. There was no response from Cllr Nash,” said Councillor Wright.
“I don’t know what prompted Cllr Nash’s negativity. He is entitled to his opinion, but he should be careful not to promulgate inaccuracies. We are in an era of fake news, but should be able to trust those who should be in the know to get things right.”
In response, Cllr Nash said: “Cllr Wright says he was amazed by my claims [as the local Exmouth Town Council representative] that there had been no consultation.
“Informing your own EDDC councillors is one thing, informing the local residents of Exmouth is another.
“Local residents were not informed or consulted because this 28-day temporary permission was originally granted by EDDC to itself without having to have a formal planning application heard by the town council planning committee, where local people would have to have been notified.”
Cllr Nash said residents’ complaints had included that the wheel was ‘overpowering’, that it made the seafront like ‘a cheap fairground’, that residents should have been able to comment in advance, that it should be in a less conspicuous area, and that residents were being overlooked by passengers.
He added: “When the local council planning committee finally heard the application on August 14, it stated unanimously, ‘No objection to a two-week extension over the permitted period of 28 days. However, the committee requested should the applicant wish to return in future they consult with the town council to discuss alternative sites’.
“No, Tom, not negative or fake news on my part, but, along with other town councillors, just doing our job representing residents where we live.”