Let's embrace Longboat plans

PUBLISHED: 16:41 31 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:55 10 June 2010

I was minded to respond this week to the comments by M G Thomas in last week s letters column, regarding the proposed plans for the Longboat Cafe on Budleigh Salterton seafront.

I was minded to respond this week to the comments by M G Thomas in last week's letters column, regarding the proposed plans for the Longboat Cafe on Budleigh Salterton seafront.

It would seem Mr Thomas is not a fan of the proposals. He states they would "negate an area of outstanding natural beauty" and they would "destroy the view from the west and from Steamer Steps".

From what I have seen of the superb plans for the Longboat, it is proposed to turn a one-storey structure into a two-storey structure, with the upper level being a clear glass affair, to allow diners a view of the sea and out into the bay.

I find this small structure to be far less of a monolithic monstrosity than the huge edifices on the cliffs behind, none of which,were ever in keeping with the original buildings which once graced Coastguard Road.

From the last of the old coastguard cottages to the carbuncle that is Elvestone, we are graced with massive structures in the £400K-plus price bracket, some resembling 1920's art deco cinema fronts, others like Elvestone looking more like a command bunker on the Atlantic Wall. All towering over the seafront below.

Where was Mr Thomas when these buildings destroyed the character of the area?

If you do a little aerial spotting using Google Earth you can see the blue umbrellas of the Longboat and you will notice the footprint it occupies is very small so I can see no reason that it will destroy the view from the west!

Behind it on the cliffside is a house which recently had half an Amazon rain forest's worth of decking grafted onto it, with what resembled the former masts, rigging and sails of a tea clipper jutting seaward from it. Not to my taste, but surely a blot on the landscape equally of note.

Mr Thomas appears concerned that, upon the demise of the restaurant, we will gain a "fast food establishment" and "more drinking in the open" will result; where this scare mongering claim comes from, I do not know?

Budleigh Salterton has managed to survive since Raleigh's day, without a Burger King, MacDonalds or KFC and I would surmise that their acquisitions department were astute enough to realise the folly of opening a restaurant in a town where the majority of residents require pre-chewed food and would not know what al dente was if a firm piece of broccoli fell on them from a great height.

The Longboat design is different, it is eye-catching, it is contemporary and it is an investment in Budleigh - far more of an investment than the charity shops and the plethora of recent "designer" shops that have opened in town. It provides a service and I, for one, think it should be embraced with open arms.

I R Woolger,

16 Otter Court,

Budleigh Salterton.

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