Seafront businesses set to stay for summer
PUBLISHED: 06:30 04 April 2016
Family tourist attractions on Exmouth seafront are set to trade for another summer, after obtaining a legal stay of execution.
Owners of the businesses – Exmouth Fun Park and the neighbouring Arnold Palmer mini-golf course – say they look forward to welcoming back their loyal customers – but East Devon District Council (EDDC) faces its seafront redevelopment plans being delayed for several months.
The businesses had been due for eviction in May, having lost a county court case against EDDC in January.
However, Chris Wright, tenant of the fun park, and his mother Maureen, joint tenant with Mr Wright of the golf site, continued their court fight, and in a statement have now said that with their next court hearing scheduled for November, the businesses will keep trading until then – giving them at least one extra summer season.
The statement reads: “We have enjoyed over 40 years’ trading on the seafront and have applied to renew our leases so we can continue our businesses here, where we have built up a loyal customer base.
“EDDC has opposed the renewal of our leases in favour of a redevelopment of the seafront.
“The legal process is ongoing and an application for permission to appeal the first instance judgement will be heard in November 2016.
“Until the hearing of that application, the fun park and golf course will be open as usual and we hope you will continue to support our businesses on the seafront over the summer period.”
The tenants are making an ‘oral application’ for an appeal hearing, having had a previous appeal application turned down by the Court of Appeal.
EDDC is planning new buildings and leisure facilities on Queen’s Drive, between the old lifeboat station and The Maer.
Reacting to the latest development, an EDDC spokesperson said: “The original court judgement made in January required the tenants to leave in May 2016, which would have enabled the council to move on to the site this year.
“This latest action now means that the development of the road, car park and water sports centre will not begin for some period of time until the tenants’ next application is heard.
“The tenants’ application for leave to appeal is listed for November. However, the council is applying to bring the hearing forward.
“For the regeneration of Queen’s Drive to continue, the remaining tenancies on the site need to be ended. The judicial system has twice found in favour of the council that the tenants do not have the right to remain on site as their leases have expired.
“While the legal process continues, areas of the seafront will remain boarded up and the multi-million-pound all-year-round development – starting with the national watersports centre – is being stalled.”
Also this week, East Devon returning officer Mark Williams has confirmed that a parish poll will take place in Exmouth on April 20, between 4pm and 9pm, asking whether Exmouth Town Council should write to EDDC calling for additional independent consultation on its plans.
There will be no polling cards or postal votes. More details will be listed on the EDDC website and at Exmouth Town Hall on April 13.