Longboat Cafe Change for worse’

BUDLEIGH Salterton mayor Courtney Richards believes there is a serious danger the town could change for the worse if plans to develop the seafront Longboat Caf� are approved.

BUDLEIGH Salterton mayor Courtney Richards believes there is a serious danger the town could change for the worse if plans to develop the seafront Longboat Caf� are approved.

Speaking after a packed public meeting held on Wednesday, March 24, to discuss the matter, Cllr Richards stressed the application appeared to contravene around six planning policies.

"My father was chairman of the council for many years and he said 'Budleigh has to change, but in a way that it improves and still keeps it as Budleigh'," he explained.

"That's what we're getting away from, if we're not careful. You can alter and modernise it, but it has to be done sympathetically."

A number of people at the meeting asked what action they could take to try to stop the plans from being approved.

David Daniel, of the Budleigh Longboat Association, said people should continue to write to East Devon District Council as they were legally obliged to accept all comments right up until a meeting.

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The advice was echoed by Cllr Richards, who added: "I would ask people to write to the planning authority, setting out their objections, but in concrete terms.

"It has to be based on some element of planning law. Saying they don't like the colour and size isn't enough. It has to say 'it impacts on this and that'.

"There is a tremendous strength of feeling and frustration among people, because it is so obviously wrong. As I have said before, we are not against something happening, but not this big.

"Then there is a sense of frustration that our planning authority are taking no notice of not only the feelings of this town and its design statement, but also planning law.

"We've had this problem for a while.

"We, as a town council, come up with reasons, sometimes to support something, and sometimes to refuse it.

"Quite often, East Devon planning authority then come back and have a perverse decision and we would like to know why their reasons override ours, when we believe ours are based on planning law.

"We, as a council, have pointed out areas we think the application contravenes and still it seems East Devon, as it appears to us, are hell-bent on putting this through."

Helen Tickle, of the Otter Valley Association, said: "There is strong feeling about this application, and the protection for the AONB and Jurassic Coast ought to prevent it happening.

"We are charged with protecting historic buildings and the historical environment so this has been an important matter for the executive committee of the OVA to make representations in opposition to this application.

"We will be disappointed if EDDC has not seen fit to recognise the impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Jurassic Coast that would result if this building was constructed.

"The policy guidelines say that things should enhance the area and no case has been made by the applicant or, in the first case officer's report, that show how the area has been enhanced or made better by this two-storey structure obscuring some of the best views in the town.

"For many people, the impact would be detrimental, definitely damaging the area."

David Daniels, of the Budleigh Longboat Association, said the proposed restaurant would be visually intrusive and out of scale.

Mr Daniels, along with a number of other members from the association, commissioned environmental architects, Nicholas Pearson Associates, to produce a Landscape Visual Impact Statement.

Campaigners say the report, displayed at the meeting, outlines concrete reasons why the application should be rejected.

Mr Daniels said: "It involves the potential loss of what we believe to be the last remaining longboat house of its kind in the country. It is a piece of maritime heritage.