Major loss to tourism and to the town
PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 May 2012
How do you feel when you are told good news, and that an outcome is going to be as you hoped? Delighted, elated!
This is just how I left the Future Plan exhibition in Elizabeth Hall last year.
I attended especially because of concern for the loss of the hall. I filled in one of the forms provided, pointing out the great potential of this neglected bit of Exmouth heritage.
I observed that imagination and creativity was needed to see this promise and quoted examples of wonderful restorations of Victorian buildings I had visited in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They prize the character of their Victorian history and put it to excellent modern uses, attracting tourists at the same time.
Deciding to add to my comments, I made a sketch of the building, envisioning an extension of the frontage including a restaurant which had a curved balcony to suit the current design.
Returning to the room, I met a lady planner near the door. I showed her my sketch explaining my concern. She was pleasantly surprised, exclaiming this was just what was planned except that they intended to extend the building in an L-shape towards the esplanade.
Knowing the current plan, how do you explain that conversation? Was she giving me a story? Did no one tell her the news of what was already intended? She was supposed to be informing the public, so why give wrong information?
I feel really let down with a bang! I had envisaged its use for exhibitions, youth activities, meeting, weddings etc.
What a major loss to tourism and the town in general of what was a generous gift to all the townspeople from the Rolle family, and in the year of the Queen’s jubilee.