Survey shows concern over seafront plans

PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 November 2015 | UPDATED: 09:46 04 December 2015

Archant

A new survey, asking the public about redevelopment plans for Exmouth seafront, has found strong opposition to the current proposals.

The Exmouth Seafront Survey was initiated by Councillor Megan Armstrong, who was elected to East Devon District Council (EDDC) in May, following her election pledge to find out what residents and existing businesses had to say about the area’s future.

The council is proposing new buildings and leisure facilities, including a watersports centre, at the so-called Splash in Queen’s Drive.

The survey received 1,254 responses – 709 online and 545 from people who had picked up paper forms on the seafront.

The result of the survey was that 95 per cent of the respondents were opposed to the current redevelopment plans.

The survey’s conclusion states that an update to existing facilities would be preferred and calls for more consultation to be carried out.

Cllr Armstrong said: “Before I did the survey, I had a suspicion people weren’t being heard.

“I’m not surprised at what’s come out of it, but I think I am surprised at the amount of people who took part and who say they don’t want any of it - and certainly not what the council is thinking of doing.

“The council seriously needs to look at this and do a proper, independent consultation before any other planning applications are put forward. Some visitors have said if it changes, they won’t come anymore, and that’s really important and something the council shouldn’t take lightly.”

Responding to the survey, an EDDC spokesman said: “The council appreciates that a range of views have and continue to come forward regarding the regeneration of Exmouth seafront. It is good that people air their opinions to be considered along with the council’s previous engagement with Exmouth people and organisations, with more public consultation to come as developer plans come forward in more detail.

“Debate helps the council understand differing views and make informed development decisions.

“It is clear that a good number of people value the seafront for what it is.

“Others welcome the prospect of improvements and a new mix of attractions alongside the proposed watersports centre.

“The council’s plan now is to help ensure the seafront is able to continue to be a vibrant part of Exmouth’s appeal.

“It is important that the seafront can be more open to the public, better linked to the beach and grow as a varied, all-year-round attraction to locals and visitors alike so all can enjoy Devon’s premier town.”

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