Seafront attractions cost taxpayer nearly £300,000

The new Jurassic-theme play park at the Queens Drive Space

The new Jurassic-theme play park at the Queens Drive Space - Credit: Archant

Nearly £300,000 was spent on temporary seafront attractions by the district council, it has been revealed.

Under questioning from councillor Megan Armstrong at last week’s East Devon District Council meeting, cllr Philip Skinner revealed that £285,305, was spent by the council for the first year of the new attractions in Queen’s Drive, Exmouth.

Cllr Skinner said that the costs included £155,000 on the new dinosaur-themed play park, as well as other costs on the beach bar seating area, the events stage and making the whole site safe.

He also said the council spent £22,850 putting on events such as free live screenings from the Royal Opera House.

But the council gained £25,373 in income from those events, and a further £9,000 from the big wheel.

Cllr Skinner said he was confident that the site would make a profit on revenue costs this summer, as it did in 2018.

Cllr Armstrong questioned the ‘vast expenditure’ that the council had made, spending £283,000 on the site for the first year, with a further £75,000 budgeted for this summer.

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In response, Cllr Skinner said he didn’t expect to be facing criticism for investing money in Exmouth.

He said: “We are trying to get more people into the town, and to get them to spend more money there.

“It shouldn’t be a criticism that we are investing more in Exmouth and the town councillors should be chuffed to think we are investing in the town.

“We tried new things and people did like them.

“Some events didn’t go well, but others did.

“We made all of our revenue costs back and made a profit, and I expect to do so in future.

“We are continuing to invest in Exmouth’s seafront and have also been invited to a Stage 2 bid for Coastal Communities Fund that will further benefit the seafront.

“For 2019, our budget is £75,000, which includes staffing, event cost, equipment hire, maintenance, security and utility costs.

“We expect to secure income of between £30,000 and £40,000 this year, depending on sponsorship secured, and a further £12,000 for the big wheel.”

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