So many follies

Does Exmouth ever get it right? Just as people were looking forward to something new in the form of the re-jigged Strand Gardens, things become totally soured by the decision to go ahead with the new ‘restaurant’ or whatever it is. As the shopping precinct is looking so tired (with its awful clock), The Strand provides a much-needed piazza where people can meet and chat.

Exmouth has a remarkable selection of follies. Surely the best of these is the half-finished bowling alley on the seafront. The bus station’s an odd one, as it’s hardly ever used. The library is visually quaint, but is a disgrace for a town this size. Phear Park is a most depressing place - don’t go there at night. The youth problems of places like Brixington, boyracers on the seafront and the weekend binge drinkers just never seem to go away.

The folly to beat them all, surely, is the Rolle College site - now forlorn and disused, yet ideal as a post-16 educational facility.

More? Feast your eyes on the visual chaos which is the Imperial Road Recreation Ground, where there is an absolute sea of signs.

If in doubt, build more houses. Exmouth is constantly under threat of the most outrageous housing developments.

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Some years ago, one of the councillors said something like: “What do you expect - it’s only a seaside resort.” Wrong. It has a huge, permanent population that deserves better.

When it was a thriving resort, it had (according to a 1972 AA guide) - open-air swimming pool, boat and fishing trips, deck chairs, wind-breaks and beach huts for hire; lifeboat, children’s playground, pavilion, two cinemas, approach golf, putting, obstacle golf, cricket, bowls, amusement arcades, ten-pin bowling, tropical fish aquarium, indoor zoo and carnival fortnight in July.

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It’s not a question of ‘no money’. There was no golden age when public money was flowing. It’s more to do with the will to get things done.

I have to add that one of the few things of which Exmouth can, in fact, be proud is the community college, where they work hard and also get good results.

Surely the young students, now and in future years, deserve a town with far better facilities and quality of life.

Peter Reid

Rainbow’s End, Church Path, Lympstone.

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