Major step to regeneration?

A MAJOR hurdle in developing a multi-storey car park, sports facility and transport interchange looked set to be overcome last night.

A MAJOR hurdle in developing a multi-storey car park, sports facility and transport interchange looked set to be overcome last night.

On Wednesday evening, the district council's executive was poised to back a report that, if adopted, could see the Royal Avenue and London Inn sites - along with Union Street and the nearby derelict gas works - become the key plank in Exmouth's regeneration plans, writes David Beasley.

If backed, East Devon District Council would pledge up to �80,000 towards a development brief, a major document clearly setting out the future of the town centre.

The town mayor and EDDC's Exmouth champion, Darryl Nicholas, said: "The approach outlined in this report means the future enhancement of the town centre would be looked at as a whole, rather than working on a site-by-site, piecemeal strategy.


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"A brief of this scope is necessary, if we are really serious about getting the very best we can for our town.

"Aspirations, such as a new transport hub, increased shoppers' car parking and high-quality leisure and community facilities can be achieved, only if we look at the bigger picture."

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The sites earmarked, says the report, represent the 'best opportunity' to secure the long-term future of retailing in the town centre - and will look at how best to integrate a new London Inn multi-storey car park with the Magnolia Centre.

It also addresses the development of Royal Avenue site, the long-term future of the sports centre, pedestrian access to the town centre, future supermarket interest and access to The Gut for water-users.

Cllr Nicholas added: "This development process would give the capacity and flexibility to ensure we get the right facilities in the right place, boosting business and ensuring our natural assets are protected."

If agreed, the plans will be debated at the Town Hall on Monday. Cllr Nicholas said he would also seek a meeting with the chamber of commerce and the community liaison panel.

"This report calls for extensive consultation," he said, "which is absolutely vital in making sure the people of Exmouth can be fully involved in building the future of their town centre.

"Now is the time to be putting in the groundwork for such a development brief. The sites in this report have been discussed time and time again over many years - it is the time for action.

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