Think again about the caf�

I recently attended my first ever planning meeting at EDDC, Knowle, Sidmouth, where the planning application for the Longboat Caf� was under discussion.

I recently attended my first ever planning meeting at EDDC, Knowle, Sidmouth, where the planning application for the Longboat Caf� was under discussion.

At the start of the discussion, a few people said aloud that the decision had already been made and that it was, basically, a waste of time us public being there.

I wanted to keep an open mind, but, as the proceedings went on, I began to rather agree with them

I was allowed to speak for three minutes, but found it difficult to talk as I am passionate about the unchanged, untouched, unspoilt, natural beauty of Budleigh seafront.

I feel strongly that this proposed development will spoil the wonderful views that everybody loves Budleigh for.

The chairman realised that my voice was very choked up with emotion and allowed me to take my time, for which I thank him.

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I do feel, however, that other people who spoke were, as it were, 'banging their heads against a brick wall'.

Everyone wants businesses in Budleigh to prosper, including the Longboat Caf�.

The main point of objection is the size and height of this proposed development, which came through in nearly everyone's objections report, but it seemed to be ignored.

We were spoken to as though we were aged, narrow-minded people, who do not want any change in Budleigh anywhere, just for the sake of it.

This is not true; it is just the site and size of this new building.

For instance, if it were further on up the promenade, which runs parallel with the town's High Street, it would not be so bad as there are already properties there, but to rise way above the natural line of the cliff as much as it does on the Marine Parade is absolutely unforgiveable.

The councillors did not appear to know anything about the materials that are to be used in construction, or proper details of the plans.

Please answer the following questions:

1 Will the sun's glare on the huge sweeping roof, which is to be built in shiny material, affect people's vision as they walk or drive or sit in their cars down the hill?

2 Who will pay for, and how often, will the roof be cleaned of seagull droppings because, after a short time, it will look filthy?

3 What safety glass will be used all around the building's walls?

4 How often will the windows be cleaned, as the salt spray on the glass will look awful in a few days? Those people who, supposedly, want to sit inside having a meal, while looking out to sea in the winter, will not be able to see a thing!

5 Will there be guttering along the base of the overhanging second floor, as anyone walking along the lower promenade will get soaked as rainwater pours off the upper windows?

6 Was the public shelter advertised for sale to the general public?

7 How much is the Longboat proprietor paying for the shelter?

8 As a user of the public shelter, where is its replacement going to be built?

9 Who will pay for the replacement shelter?

10 Why is the public shelter, at present, being decorated with money funded by the taxpayer, when its imminent demolition is being proposed?

A lady of the planning committee staff, who came very late into the meeting, said that Budleigh is part and parcel of East Devon. Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth are, in effect, similar - part of the package of East Devon.

I strongly disagree - each town is completely different and appeals to completely different visitors and locals alike. She said that the new Lifeboat Station and the old swimming pool development on Exmouth seafront are good examples of "making a statement" with our buildings. She said they are lovely buildings, in the right situation?

This is rather a joke! Firstly, the swimming pool development (the bowling alley, currently being built) has been built above its height restrictions and, therefore, is not in line with the planning consent.

Both may be lovely buildings in their own right, but every single person I have spoken to says they are too large and intrusive for the positions they are in - just like the Longboat Caf� will be.

The quaint Longboat property is loved by nearly everybody. Update it if you will, but please keep it single storey and unobtrusive in its natural surroundings. Then you will not have hundreds of passionate-for-Budleigh people up in arms.

The whole thing appears to be a foregone conclusion and our opinions were all treated as inconsequential objections and of no interest to the council.

Please reconsider the whole sorry affair and keep this area of outstanding natural beauty as it is for future generations to enjoy as much as I have.

Name and address withheld.