Parties divided as seafront Premier Inn wins backing

PUBLISHED: 10:10 28 March 2013 | UPDATED: 10:10 28 March 2013

Premier Inn

Premier Inn

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A new four-storey 60-room Premier Inn on the seafront has been backed by town planners following a majority vote.

On Monday night the town’s planning committee voted along party lines and the Liberal Democrat group lost a motion to recommend the plans for refusal.

The Conservatives won the vote by a margin of six to four – which effectively led to the planning committee backing the plans by majority.

The vote followed a meeting which saw a packed public gallery – with half-a-dozen people who mostly spoke out against the plans.

The plans were filed two weeks ago, and follow a public exhibition at Exmouth Pavilion last December.

The proposals, which will now go to the district council for consideration, will mean the demolition of the Elizabeth Hall and the building of the hotel complete with a restaurant and café bar.

Ward member, Steve Gazzard, said: “I would urge this planning committee to oppose this application.

“It would be a loss of a public amenity, loss of public toilets ... the building is overbearing, over-massed and would be out of keeping.

“The car parking is insufficient, there would be a loss of trees and the views from the beach would be destroyed.

“We need a categorical assurance that the right of way [on Plantation Walk and Madeira Walk] would be retained.”

Councillor Eileen Wragg said: “It is out of context to its surroundings. I wonder about the benefits to Exmouth.”

Councillor Malcolm Mitchell was doubtful if there would be enough parking spaces for 60 rooms, conference facilities and a restaurant.

He said: “The plans would see 83 per cent of the whole site built on.”

Mayor John Humphreys said: “It would be a welcome addition for the town. There will be job opportunities for people in the town. Premier Inn is a prominent national chain and it will bring people here.”

Councillor Sandy MacQueen said: “It is important to have a Premier Inn – it will put Exmouth on the map. When we had the cycling event last year, many people said they would be coming back to Exmouth.

“People often plan where they are going to stay by looking where there is a Premier Inn.”

Councillor Richard Turner said: “It is about time we had something in Exmouth to shout about.”

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