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Fears that overflow car park plans will take away space for leisure

It's part of major redevelopment works on Exmouth seafront

An overflow car park for Exmouth seafront could be built on land currently earmarked for leisure and play.

Around 50 new car parking spaces could be provided on a plot of land off Queen’s Drive that previously was partially used for the Railway Carriage Café before it relocated to Cornwall in 2015.

The description of the proposal says: “The site is currently is use as a construction compound for the works to realign the road and construct a new car park. East Devon District Council are applying for permission to change the use of the area to an overflow car park for approximately 50 vehicles on completion of the works.

“It is intended that the area will remain in use as an overflow car park during the interim period between completion of the road realignment and car parks works, and the completion of the wider Queen’s Drive redevelopment period.”

The land, next to the existing Queen’s Drive Space, is earmarked for leisure and play in phase 3 of the overall seafront redevelopment.

The first phase of the Exmouth’s Queen’s Drive development, which involves the relocation of the Queen’s Drive road and the building of a new car park, is set to be complete by June.

Phase two involves the building of a new watersports centre, with work set to start in the summer and to be complete by summer 2020.

However, objections to the scheme to provide an overflow car park have raised concerns about the plan to permanently provide a new car park, as the application is for permanent, and not temporary planning permission.

Malcom Marrett said: “The land that this proposed overflow car park is to use has already been designated by East Devon District Council for mixed leisure use as part of phase 3 of the Queen’s Drive development. Approving its use as a car park would be to take away some of the space that is designated for tourists and residents as their all-weather recreation area.”

Ron Metcalfe said: “The applicant states it is intended the car park would remain in use until ‘completion of the wider Queens Drive development’. This is an ambiguous and open-ended statement. Rather than requesting a temporary facility (similar to the Queens Drive Temporary Attractions), the applicants have created a precedent by choosing to make a full and permanent application that could result in this car park remaining on the seafront for many years and possibly permanently, at their discretion.”

Clive Paul added that the area is meant to be designated as a leisure/amenity space and therefore a car park is therefore inappropriate, while Sally Galsworthy said that she was objecting as the land protected by being earmarked for leisure and play in phase 3 of the Queens Drive development.

East Devon District Council’s development management committee will determine the fate of the application at a later date.

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