Unlocking the town's future

PUBLISHED: 15:36 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:15 10 June 2010

HUGE swathes of Exmouth could be opened up for housing, business and shopping – if the expansion of Liverton Business Park gets the green light. Clinton Devon Estates, the owners of the Salterton Road park, say there is no more employment land left in Exm

HUGE swathes of Exmouth could be opened up for housing, business and shopping - if the expansion of Liverton Business Park gets the green light.

Clinton Devon Estates, the owners of the Salterton Road park, say there is no more employment land left in Exmouth - and propose a major expansion, writes David Beasley.

The Journal understands that, if the expansion wins support, it could lead to Jewson's, the adjacent town centre post office's sorting office and the district council's depot in Camperdown Terrace moving there - as well as the creation of a new bus interchange.

This would form a key plank in the town's regeneration, freeing up land near the derelict gas works and the London Inn car park - earmarked for a multi-storey car park.

The extensive bus station site - once earmarked for a supermarket - could also become vacant.

Moving the Camperdown Depot would increase access to The Gut, and possibly lead to the tidal inlet being dredged and tidied for increased boat use - and maybe becoming a tourist area, linking the seafront and marina to a rejuvenated estuaryside.

However, Jewson's told the Journal they had no plans to move. The Post Office had not responded at the time of going to press.

It is all part of the district council's Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), identifying potentially suitable land for housing over the next 10 to 15 years.

If adopted by the district and town council, it would be a major boost for the town. Town councillors will be briefed on Monday.

Land agent for Clinton Devon Estates, John Bain, said: "Exmouth is up to capacity, there is no surplus employment land - and the local authority is keen to deliver more.

"It depends largely on their encouragement but, if we have their support, we would like to put in a planning application, at the earliest within the next four months.

"We obviously have a lot of work to do first and it would be premature to approach potential tenants before we do."

More than 450 sites around East Devon have been submitted as part of SHLAA, and an EDDC spokesman said: "With its economic development 'hat' on, the district council supports the principle of identifying and developing additional employment land for Exmouth, which is in short supply.

"The proposals being mooted by Clinton Devon Estates promise the additional benefit of freeing up valuable space in the town centre, which could be put to much better use than the semi-commercial functions currently performed by some key sites in the retail heart of the town."

Councillor Peter Halse, Chairman of the Exmouth Regeneration Programme Board, said: "I am delighted a prominent local land-owner is bringing forward ideas that could remove some of the obstacles that have stood in the way of progress for so long.

"This is just what the programme board wants to see, as it could help us to deliver our wider master-plan for Exmouth to realise its true potential.

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