Longboat Cafe plan rejected

PUBLISHED: 09:58 22 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:58 22 July 2013

The saga of Budleigh's Longboat Café has taken another twist, after district planners rejected owner Brent Hushon's latest redevelopment plan.

The decision means that the building’s fate could now depend on a judicial review into Mr Hushon’s previously approved design, due to be heard later this year.

At an East Devon District Council development management committee meeting, Mr Hushon told councillors a revamped café, which he has been trying to deliver for six years, would: “Enhance locals’ and visitors’ experience in the town, and provide year-round employment opportunities.”

However, although he received support from some councillors, and backing from district planning officers, the committee rejected the plan by eight votes to six.

It had previously heard from Budleigh residents, and Budleigh councillors Steve Hall and Tom Wright, opposing the scheme, and saying there was very little difference between the new proposal and one that was refused in February last year.

Councillor Hall said: “This is another lost opportunity. There could have been a thriving business there four years ago had a more sympathetic design been submitted.”

The committee also heard about the historic value of the Longboat, which campaigners say is a unique example of an admiralty boathouse. However, councillors’ chief concern was the design of the proposed two-storey cafe.

Councillor Tony Howard said: “I think Budleigh visitors like the non-commercialised seafront. I would not like to see this more modern version of the Longboat Café there.”

Councillor Ben Ingham said: “When we refused [planning permission] last time I was hoping a subsequent application would show a change in the design. But that hasn’t happened. I don’t see any significant change, which is a shame, as I really think this site should be developed, but not with this application.”

Speaking in favour, councillor Mark Williamson said: “This appears a highly contemporary building, which seems to me to be very much in sympathy with what is a seafront location.”

Speaking after the meeting, the Budleigh Salterton Longboat Association’s David Daniel said: “We are delighted with the decision. I have to say I think any other decision would have been perverse. As far as we are concerned we now await the outcome of the court action.”

Mr Hushon declined to comment.

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