Save Exmouth Seafront campaigners challenge ‘arrogant’ Queen’s Drive plans

PUBLISHED: 14:36 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:01 21 November 2018

Queen's Drive road and car park, Exmouth, which is set to be re-aligned as part of the seafront regeneration scheme. Picture: Google

Queen's Drive road and car park, Exmouth, which is set to be re-aligned as part of the seafront regeneration scheme. Picture: Google

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Save Exmouth Seafront campaigners have expressed concerns after East Devon District Council pushed through plans to realign the Queen’s Drive road and car park.

Seafront campaigners have hit out at ‘arrogant’ plans to fast track the redirection of Exmouth’s Queens Drive to make way for a new watersports centre.

Save Exmouth Seafront (SES) said it ‘views with grave concern’ the decision by East Devon District Council (EDDC) to proceed with diverting Queen’s Drive behind the proposed Watersports centre, because the decision was ‘taken at very short notice’.

The campaign group’s concerns are in response East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) cabinet approval for work to begin on phase one of the regeneration, despite no ‘legal commitment’ from Grenadier Estates for ‘phase two’.

Nick Hookway, SES chairman, said: “This decision by the EDDC cabinet, taken at very short notice and voted through before residents had a chance to speak, shows yet again the arrogance of this council and the contempt with which residents’ views and concerns are considered.

“This decision raises a whole range of questions.”

He said the campaign group wants to know why the new road is being moved behind the before the developer has fully signed up to the project, and questions why EDDC was funding it.

The group asked what would happen if Grenadier Estates did not go ahead with the watersports centre and whether there was a contingency plan, fearing residents face a future with a derelict seafront site.

EDDC said it was ‘making sure’ it was on track to deliver what residents want.

An EDDC spokeswoman said: “The council is not prepared to allow further delays on the delivery of a new road and car park, which will pave the way for the much awaited water sports centre and a vision for the wider Queen’s Drive site.”

She added: “We also appreciate that there are a number of long term detractors who have their concerns about how the new seafront is taking shape, so we want to provide reassurance that we are constantly keeping under review the programme of development and maintaining progress while keeping Exmouth people informed on what we are doing.”

She said the council was ‘fully committed’ to the ongoing consultation with the public about changes to the seafront.

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