Fear for future

On Tuesday, March 8, I observed my first East Devon District Council meeting to discover the outcome of the proposed pavilion building in The Strand.

My husband and I, along with his parents, own a business on The Strand and employ 19 local people.

We are also residents, along with our three-year-old daughter, whose bedroom window will be approximately 40 feet from the glass-fronted building, so, as you can imagine, we have plenty of reservations.

The first hour of the meeting was spent by the councillors congratulating each other on the amazing job that they are doing on another project in East Devon and then it was time for The Strand.

My mother-in-law, Jacquie Haywood, and two other strong objectors were given a very strict three minutes each in which to voice their objections.

After the objections had been heard and some completely irrelevant questions asked by the councillors, we then sat and listened to the councillors and architect for about 40 minutes.

During this time they laughed and made crude jokes, whilst deciding on my family’s livelihood and fellow Strand traders.

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During their decision-making, they talked several times of how the mayor of Exmouth is ‘all for’ The Strand’s new pavilion, but what they failed to add was that the mayor was out-voted at the Exmouth Town Council meeting 7-2 against the new building!

I found it outrageous having to sit and listen to their out-of-date information (that had to be corrected by my mother-in-law) and, what I consider, the bullying nature with which they spoke to the people of Exmouth attending the meeting.

After many more jokes and embarrassing banter between them, they took the vote. Deciding to ignore a strong letter of objection from the police, a 2,000 named petition, approximately 260 letters and emails of objection, the flood risk, worry of youths mistreating the area, including our war memorial, and putting existing local businesses and jobs at risk, they voted in favour of the pavilion.

I find this decision worrying. Exmouth is a ‘family town’, encouraging tourists in the summer season. I honestly believe, as part of a young family, that the already existing ‘concrete jungle’, as many have called it, and the soon-to be built caf� and stage will not encourage tourists, but have the opposite effect.

I dread to think what decisions will be made in the future.

India Haywood

Franklins, The Strand, Exmouth.