‘Yes’ to �400k Exmouth pavilion

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a �400,000 pavilion in The Strand have been given the go-ahead despite protest and scores of objections.

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a �400,000 pavilion in Exmouth’s Strand Gardens were given the go-ahead on Tuesday - despite scores of objections.

Emotions ran high as protesters turned out in force at East Devon District Council (EDDC) headquarters on decision day- with a petition of more than 2,000 signatures opposing the bid.

Angry objectors heckled development management committee members after they handed their county council counterparts planning permission for a structure that will include a caf�, performance space and bus shelter. One upset protester labelled the meeting “a circus”.

The pavilion is the final piece of the jigsaw in a multi-million pound Exmouth town-centre transformation.

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Councillors had lauded the mooted structure as “iconic”, while unhappy residents branded it a “carbuncle”.

Jacquie Haywood, who owns Franklins in The Strand, told committee members a caf� would threaten scores of nearby businesses and the pavilion would become a hub for troublemakers.

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“The fear is this will become a no-go area and a hot spot for anti-social behaviour,” she said.

“Its immoral public money is going to be used for purely commercial gain. It’s our money and it threatens our jobs, our livelihoods, our privacy and our quality of life.”

Resident Ron Roberts branded the bid “a folly” and said: “It’s a structure that has been forced upon us by ‘nonsultation’. After 10 years it will be considered a carbuncle. It’s a dreadful design.

“This building will not be the focal point- that is the war memorial.”

Councillor Geoff Chamberlain thought the pavilion would be a “great asset” for Exmouth. He said: “This would be a little bit of a jewel, which would be a real attraction and talking point.”

He said commercial use was necessary to cover the costs of the building’s management - so ratepayers would not have to pick up the bill.

Cllr Mark Williamson said he was “hugely disappointed by a lack of imagination” over a proposed caf� or restaurant and wanted to hear other ideas.

He said: “Are we really spending all this money on this superb building to add a 20th caf� to The Strand?”

Cllr Williamson added: “It could well be one of the finer public realm buildings in East Devon. It will bring people to Exmouth, there is no doubt.”

Councillors voted overwhelmingly in favour of plans.

Mrs Haywood told the Journal after the decision she was “absolutely disgusted”.

l See a letter from Alan Haywood of Franklins on page 10.

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