Councillors John Humphreys, Andrew Moulding and Tim Wood with the plans

Cabinet agree to proceed with proposal

East Devon District Council’s Cabinet this week (7 January) agreed to proceed with a proposal from Grenadier Estates to develop an exciting new watersports centre as the first part of the new Queen’s Drive leisure area.  The high quality, watersports centre would occupy about two acres at the front of site with the road being moved to the rear of the site allowing easy beach access for water users.  The centre will be architecturally attractive and environmentally sustainable with retail and cafe units included within and a new open-air events space and other public open space outside.

Cllr Andrew Moulding, deputy leader of East Devon District Council and chair of Exmouth Regeneration Board, said

This type of facility is at the very heart of our redevelopment plans for Queen’s Drive and, as such, would be an excellent outcome for Exmouth.  It will benefit the town’s vitality and reputation putting Exmouth at the forefront for watersports facilities nationally and internationally. I am excited by the ideas outlined by Grenadier and look forward to working closely with them on the detail during the coming weeks and securing a project that will benefit all parties especially Exmouth’s residents and visitors.

The proposed watersports centre will provide easy access onto the beach following the realignment of the road to the rear of the site.  It will provide a clubhouse/restaurant area, retail, cafes, showers, changing facilities, toilets, office space, a training room and bar across the ground and first floor.  Externally there would be a new open air theatre space and public realm with direct access to the existing pavement and beach.  The centre will enable individuals, schools, clubs, students and other groups to have a new base for watersports activities.

Jason Hayes, CEO at Grenadier Estates, an Exeter-based property developer which has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility, said:

We are delighted to be making a contribution to the environmental and social development plans for Exmouth by proposing this exciting watersports centre. Our proposal is that the facility will ultimately be run by a Community Interest Company which is bound by its ability to use its profits and assets for the public good, and that this will be of enormous benefit to Exmouth, its residents and visitors.

The proposal follows the marketing of the site earlier this year and is consistent with the outline planning consent for the site. A legal agreement between Grenadier Estates and East Devon District Council is being prepared and is expected to be completed within the next few weeks at which point more information on the planned centre will be released. Detailed planning permission would be required by the developer before construction could take place.

There is interest on the remainder of the site with discussions ongoing with marketing agent, Jones Lang LaSalle which is promoting the site on behalf of East Devon District Council, appointed using the standard local authority procurement process.

Existing tenants on the Queen's Drive site have been informed of the progress made to date and appropriate notices have been given.  Businesses have been given the opportunity to continue trading until 30 September 2015.

The beach huts that face Queen’s Drive will also be removed as part of the improvements. The 37 current leaseholders have been informed and any who wish to do so will be given first choice of any huts that become available, with effect from the 2016 season.

The Queen's Drive development is part of the Exmouth vision to establish the resort as an attractive 21st century destination for residents, businesses and visitors. Outline planning permission for the Queen’s Drive development was agreed in December 2013.  Marketing of the site began in April 2014 following the selection criteria being agreed by East Devon District Council's Cabinet