Stuart lines can retain booking office

ONE of the town’s largest employers, Stuart Line Cruises, got a stay of execution after Exmouth councillors secured their temporary sea front booking office for two years, twice as long as district planners recommended.

ONE of the town’s largest employers, Stuart Line Cruises, got a stay of execution after Exmouth councillors secured their temporary sea front booking office for two years, twice as long as district planners recommended.

There was controversy because some felt that the functional-looking booking office had no business being on the picturesque sea front, next to Mamhead Slipway, in the first place.

There were plans to build a permanent, a more sympathetic, structure on the site as part a new caf� and Jurassic Coast interpretation centre.

But funding problems saw the project fall through leaving Stuart Line Cruises high and dry.


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Development manager Ed Freeman said the building ‘was not in keeping’ with the street scene and suggested it should be taken down after year so a more suitable location could be found.

But he admitted there were only two other viable options – the original site and the bowling alley. The prognosis for the completion for either remains unclear.

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Surprisingly concerns of the affects on the seafront if the building was retained for longer came from councillors who did not live in Exmouth.

There were also concerns that an extension of the lease would result in it still being there when the seafront master plan was realised.

Cllr Mike Green, ward member for Beer said: “I think the building is appalling” while Cllr Helen Parr of Coly Valley said it would ‘spoil’ the seafront.

But Exmouth councillors had no such concerns and Cllr Steve Wragg even suggested the lease be extended to three years – the figure of two was eventually agreed.

He said: “I don’t think three years is unreasonable.

“What is honestly going to happen within the next three years?

“I’ve seen plans for the seafront from 30 years ago and still nothing has happened.”

Chairman of the development management committee Paul Diviani said: “It looks like a typical building of its type that can be found in any number of resorts up and down the county and abroad.”

Town councillor Steve Gazzard added that the seafront was the ‘only’ place to put the booking office and the company drew in 250,000 visitors a years into Exmouth and employed 50 people.

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