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Exmouth sea front attractions to stay

Council want to keep them until 2022

Last year, East Devon District Council’s own plans for the Queen’s Drive space – the replacement for the former Fun Park – were approved, but planning permission for the use of the lands expires in March 2019.

The council have resubmitted their plans to allow temporary attractions on the site until March 2022, and the scheme is recommended to be given the go-ahead by council planners when they meet on February 12.

A total of 17 residents had objected to the scheme on issues over uncertainty on the overall redevelopment of the seafront, that temporary attractions do not enhance the seafront and that allowing them for a further three years will perpetuate delays in regeneration and increase costs.

But recommending approval, officers said: “The concerns raised regarding the desirability to extend the temporary consent for a further three years are understood. However, it is considered that the continued use of the site as a mixed activities area is an appropriate and suitable use of the site until such time as the comprehensive redevelopment of the area is undertaken.

“Given that this application is for temporary consent for the existing uses for a further year to enable the site to be used through the summer in advance of more comprehensive proposals, the application is recommended for approval.”

When the plans were submitted, Cllr Philip Skinner, Chairman of Exmouth Regeneration Board, said: “We have taken the decision to apply for temporary planning permission for Queen’s Drive Space for longer than just one year. The Exmouth Regeneration Board has unanimously agreed that it makes eminent sense to give ourselves the most flexibility to deliver our phasing without being compromised through the planning process.

“With some more flexibility over time allowed for temporary uses, we can balance the phasing in of permanent developments, with the continuation of the popular interim uses that worked well in 2018 such as the free play space and food and drink offer. That way the seafront stays active and attractive while fresh developments.”

A planning statement, submitted by Alison Hayward, senior manager for regeneration and economic development for the council, added: “The aim of the application 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.

“The temporary uses of the site were well received by the public during summer 2018 and it is therefore the council’s intention to continue them.”

As per this summer, three distinct zones will be provided within the Queen’s Drive space. It will once again include 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.

Similar conditions as to what were imposed for this summer in terms of noise and finishing time will once again be stipulated, although the new application seeks consent for the siting of a marquee within the events space, and the installation of four flagpoles on the Queens Drive frontage.

The overall regeneration of Exmouth seafront will take place in three phases.

Phase one, which is the rerouting Queen’s Drive and the building of a new car park on the site of the former golf course, has begun and should be completed by Spring 2019.

The new road will provide access to a brand new watersports centre, café and restaurant, new public space and beach access, for which planning permission has been granted, and is the second phase of the development. Celebrity chef Michael Caines will be opening a restaurant with a bar and café area as part of the development.

The third and final phase of the redevelopment will see a mixed use leisure area provided.

HemingwayDesign launched a co-design survey over the summer to get input from residents and visitors in Exmouth to uncover what people wanted from Queen’s Drive and the seafront.

Two key themes emerged from the survey which was completed by a total of 1,289 people of all ages from June to September this year.

People want an attractive place for the young, old and in-between to spend leisure time together and they want to maximise the site’s relationship with its high quality and natural environment.

There was also a preference for more active evening events and recreational opportunities as well as creating relaxing and inspiring places to eat and drink throughout the day and evening.

Further plans for phase three are expected to come forward later this year.

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