AN ambitious scheme to ‘reinvent Exmouth’ is gathering pace. 

It follows a ‘placemaking plan’ launched last year, which aims to make the seaside town a better place for residents and visitors.

Its mission, according to East Devon District Council and consultants WSP, is ‘understanding and harnessing the value of Exmouth’s assets through a set of interconnected actions that reimagine and reinvent Exmouth as a cohesive place where people choose to live, work and spend time’.

In practical terms, the new study will explore ways to diversify Exmouth’s economy by looking beyond tourism, and improving the town centre.

Unoccupied and derelict areas will be targeted while maintaining the town’s character to continue to attract visitors.

Workshops will be held to talk to residents and other stakeholders before the proposals move to the next stage.

At a meeting of the council’s ‘placemaking in Exmouth town and seafront group’ this week, project manager Gerry Mills paid tribute to the local team who had secured 56 events for the seafront area as well as the return of a big wheel, which went up last week.

“They are extremely hard-working,” he said. “And they deliver so much more than we actually see.”

Council leader Paul Arnott (Lib Dem, Coly Valley) said it was ‘excellent’ to see the town so busy, but Cllr Olly Davey (Green, Exmouth Town) said the town’s transport links continued to be a problem.

“It would be good if people didn’t all come in their cars and we had a much better connection between the train station and the seafront,” he said.

“The words look great, but it will all be about what it looks like on the ground. Something has got to change, something has got to be built, or un-built, or re-built.”

Exmouth Town Council member Graham Deasy (Lib Dem, Littleham) urged the ‘placemakers’ to examine the long-term impact of climate change. He said: “I would like to see it included from the start, to accommodate what we are seeing and the potential effects on us as a tourist destination.”

Mr Mills replied: “Climate change strategy is at the core of this. It came across loud and clear during the consultation that the environment was considered to be an extremely high priority.”