Another 18 months for seafront leisure area
The temporary attractions on Exmouth seafront – which included a dinosaur-themed play park – are set to return for another year. Planning permission for the Queen’s Drive space, that replaced the former fun park, was granted in April for one year while regeneration plans for the seafront come forward.
Phase one of the regeneration, the relocation of the road, is about to begin, while planning permission for phase two, the watersports centre, has been granted, but plans for phase three, the mixed-use leisure zone, will not be developed in time for next summer.
East Devon District Council has submitted plans to continue the temporary uses on the site until March 2020. The big wheel will also be coming back for next summer as well as plans have already been approved.
It comes as a survey commissioned by East Devon District Council said that 77 per cent of users said their expectations of the site were ‘exceeded’ and that almost every user said they would use a similar type of site at Queen’s Drive Space if it was provided again next year.
A planning statement says: “The aim is to allow the temporary uses to continue until the redevelopment takes place. This will avoid the site being unused and derelict in the period before it is development and provide a good mix of high quality attractions for both visitors and residents.
As this summer, three distinct zones will be provided: a food and drink space, which may be used for live music, the play space which includes the dinosaur-themed play park, and the zone that will show live cinema screening, music, and outdoor theatre.
Cllr Phillip Skinner, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the economy, and chairman of the Exmouth Regeneration group, says: “I am greatly encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive findings of the visitor survey. To hear people say that it is a real credit to Exmouth and that it has influenced their decision to visit is great to hear and demonstrates that the council’s decision to bring new and fresh attractions to the seafront is truly vindicated.”
A council spokesman added: “The previous seafront leisure uses were not a big pull for visitors to Exmouth according to the 2016 Exmouth Visitor Survey so it’s great to know that the Queen’s Drive Space was now the main reason for visiting Exmouth for almost 60 per cent of those interviewed. The quality of the children’s play area and overall enjoyment of the site in general received the highest satisfaction scores amongst users. The survey results were based on 500 face to face interviews and 571 online surveys and a total of 1,071 responses were received.
“From May to September, the successful programme of events included three free live screenings from the Royal Opera House attended by almost 600 people, eight film screenings attended by almost 800 people, three theatre performances and two free live music weekends.
“For the autumn and winter months, the play park and seating areas are open and, when weather permits.”