Land tribunal considered to allow for regeneration

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:49 10 June 2010

A LEGAL ruling on the lifting of pre-war restrictions curbing development on Exmouth's historic seafront will be sought, if current negotiations with land owners fail. In a closed-door session, East Devon District Council considered the report of the prin

A LEGAL ruling on the lifting of pre-war restrictions curbing development on Exmouth's historic seafront will be sought, if current negotiations with land owners fail.In a closed-door session, East Devon District Council considered the report of the principal estates surveyor, setting out the arguments why restrictive covenants relating to the land on the seafront in Exmouth should be lifted.EDDC's executive resolved that if their current negotiations with Clinton Devon Estates were unsuccessful, they would have no option but to take the case to a land tribunal.That could open the seafront for development - the first of which could be a long-awaited investigation into a new estuary access point, a slipway for Queen's Drive.Also on the cards is a new windsurf HQ for local business Waterfront Sports - a scheme delayed by more than a year.Councillors also agreed that the sale of part of Beach Gardens would go ahead only after negotiations to lift the covenants, restricting the building of a shop on the land, were successfully completed.The covenants were set by Lord Clinton when 56 acres of seafront land, including The Maer and Elizabeth Hall, were purchased by the former Exmouth Urban District for just £,9,000 in 1920.A spokesman for the district council said: "The reason the land tribunal is being considered is that we wish to make progress as soon as possible with some of the regeneration projects we have in mind for the seafront."He said that original covenants were put in place decades ago, at a time when life was a lot different: "Nobody could have guessed what we might want to do now."For example, the covenant that has now been lifted on a one-off basis on the former swimming pool site would have prevented a building being more than 30-feet high."That would have stopped the current bowling centre being built..."Another example is the new RNLI lifeboat station, which would have been impossible to build without the waiving of a covenant on that site."He added that to get remaining covenants lifted they have to go through a legal process, and that the negotiations with Clinton Devon Estates had become protracted.

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