New twist to ongoing Budleigh cafe debate

PUBLISHED: 14:32 26 June 2010

A GROUP of objectors to the controversial Longboat Café development are planning to buy the shelter which forms part of the site.

The Journal understands the Budleigh Longboat Association is inviting pledges of money from individuals to buy the shelter from East Devon District Council.

It is hoped a collective purchase could result in its ownership being transferred, so it could become the property of the people of Budleigh.

A spokesperson for EDDC said the local authority was aware of an expression of interest in the site from solicitors representing a third party.

He said the interest had been noted pending any possible future disposal of the asset.

“It is correct that the shelter and viewing platform form part of the development site for this proposal and that, for the new build to go ahead, these buildings would need to be acquired by the applicant.

“The council, as opposed to the planning authority, has as yet not considered whether or not it would wish to dispose of these buildings.”

He added: “We are aware of an expression of interest in the site from solicitors representing a third party and this interest has been noted pending any possible future disposal of these assets.”

The Budleigh Longboat Association was a body set up to create a collective voice of objection to the planning application which was approved at a development management meeting in Knowle earlier this month.

Bob Wiltshire, of Marine Parade, a member of the association, said there could be a scenario where people are asked if they wished to buy a brick apiece to achieve a collective ownership.

Speaking about the shelter’s importance to the community, he said: “It is widely used by the public, the disable and convalescent residents.

“It is also widely used in the winter when the weather is bad. I walk my dog four times and can vouch that it is widely used.”

Helen Tickle, from the Otter Valley Association, discussed the shelter at a recent Budleigh Town Council meeting.

She said: “Foundation stones for many public buildings indicated that they owe their existence to public subscription.

“….EDDC is required to secure best value for any asset it disposes of….but the people of the town use the shelter; visitors and walkers of the coast path use it, and it is a target for convalescent residents who walk to that point, rest and turn back.

“So why not support the idea of inviting pledges of money from the local people to buy the shelter for the town and then the asset could become the property of BSTC for the town, like the public hall?”

Meanwhile, a decision notice with regards to the planning application, has not been issued until an English Heritage review has been completed.

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