Residents and users are being encouraged to comment and provide information to help council gather evidence

East Devon District Council is inviting local residents who live near Belshers Slipway and Shelly Beach in Exmouth, as well as people who use the slipway and the beach, to comment on its proposal to introduce a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) that could address alleged anti social behaviour, occurring on the beach and slipway. Some incidents, involving the launching and recovery of watercraft, as well as people driving onto the beach to access watercraft on the estuary, have become a source of annoyance to some people living nearby.

If brought in, a PSPO could ban certain activities,such as the launching of watercraft at the slipway and beach, or it can be targeted very specifically at certain people, or it can include multiple restrictions and requirements in just one order. However, a PSPO is designed to make public spaces more welcoming to law abiding people and communities, and not just to restrict access.

Hence the importance of this consultation, which will provide the council with critical evidence and information gathered from local residents whose quality of life is allegedly currently affected by watercraft activity. Users of the beach and slipway, including individuals and organisations, are also being asked to express their views on how conditions or restrictions would affect their activities.

There are two separate online questionnaires on the East Devon website for both groups to complete:

As part of the consultation process, the council will also gather information about the problems that are at the heart of this issue from the local police commissioner, town and district councillors and the Highways Authority. Practical issues such as enforcement will also be discussed. This together with what is hoped will be a wide range of views expressed by all interested parties, will help inform the decision making process and ultimately assist the council in determining whether a PSPO really is necessary.

East Devon District Council’s Portfolio holder for the Environment, Councillor Iain Chubb, said:

We want to gather as much evidence and information as possible from users and residents, so we need people to complete separate questionnaires, each giving their own viewpoints. This will help us to establish whether a Public Space Protection Order is absolutely necessary for Belshers Slipway and Shelly Beach.

A PSPO is not a measure to be taken lightly and we will consider the full range of responses received from the consultation before making a decision as to whether we should or should not introduce any controls. I would like to emphasise that no enforcement can be undertaken until it has been agreed by the council. 

I strongly urge anyone concerned about how the activities they carry out on the slipway or the beach could be affected, to complete our online questionnaire and send in their views to the council by 7 September. It is our duty to listen to everyone's comments and concerns and to use those opinions to achieve a positive outcome.