Lifting covenants causes alarm

PUBLISHED: 12:19 16 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:29 10 June 2010

I was alarmed reading in last week s Journal that East Devon District Council proposes to approach the Land Tribunal to remove a covenant granted by Lord Clinton, which established the Beach Gardens, now known as the Esplanade Gardens, to build a water s

I was alarmed reading in last week's Journal that East Devon District Council proposes to approach the Land Tribunal to remove a covenant granted by Lord Clinton, which established the Beach Gardens, now known as the Esplanade Gardens, to build a water sports-based training and retail development, plus parking for 20 cars. If this covenant is overturned, it will create a precedent for the future commercialisation of what I think most people in Exmouth will regard as a key part of the seafront. They are part and parcel of Exmouth's heritage and this development would destroy the whole homogeneity and integrity of The Esplanade that we value and do not wish to see destroyed. We would lose an area of grass/recreational facility with very high visibility value. You can't possibly enhance this area any more by putting a "wow building" on it. We want to encourage more water sports events to take place in Exmouth as part of its regeneration scheme. The success of the Windsurf Festival back in July indicates that Exmouth could, indeed, become a major water sports area. However, the Esplanade Gardens is a site with poor highway access and is very near a new building going up, the bowling centre. There is no parking allowed for in this development. Not the best site for a major water sports complex.On October 19, 2005, the EDDC executive board resolved that the Queens Drive and seafront area between the former outdoor pool site and the entrance to The Maer be identified as a development opportunity to include accommodating the long-term requirements of the RNLI and to improve facilities for water-based users (including the possible creation of a water-users' slipway and trailer park).The Esplanade Gardens are outside this area so why have they been chosen? Previous sites in council-owned car parks have been identified and, in fact, Edge Water Sports was granted planning permission, but failed to proceed due to 'other' restrictions. What were these restrictions? The RNLI have already taken the most prominent site at the Foxholes end of Queens Drive by building a new lifeboat station, which is going to be huge and partly commercial. What are they going to do with their old building, which has a slipway opposite? EDDC needs to start looking at the long-term needs of all water-based sports in Exmouth. There are still no decent launching sites available. By the way, could we also ask whether any consideration has been given to the safety of both residents and tourists who use the beach areas for other things like swimming, etc, when discussing water-based sports? Mrs M J Loman, 20 Travershes Close, Exmouth.

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