Potential developers may come forward with fresh ideas

Council leaders are looking to get the best out of Exmouth’s Queen’s Drive leisure area and that means they are considering re-marketing part of this prime seafront site to potential developers who can come forward with new ideas to rejuvenate it.

Now that the council has overcome legal delays, leaders want to make sure that the development is of high quality and fit for the future, in line with a part of Queen’s Drive that has already been agreed with a developer and is set to progress as a new watersports centre. The council has also come to an agreement as required with Queen’s Drive tenants to give clarity for them and certainty for future development.

It’s been more than two years since the main part of the site was originally marketed and circumstances which influence what happens to Queen’s Drive have changed for the better. The council is keen to ensure that by revitalising Queen’s Drive, Exmouth can compete with other places, keep pace with the times and offer all-year-round attractive, 21st century modern facilities – for residents, businesses and visitors alike.

Cllr Philip Skinner, Chairman of East Devon District Council’s Exmouth Regeneration Programme Board, said:

We want Exmouth to be in the best possible position to bring more money and vibrancy to the largest town in Devon.  Exmouth has grown continuously for decades, but our seafront leisure facilities haven’t while other seaside resorts have invested and modernised. 

 We are considering re-marketing the main Queen’s Drive leisure area to investors and developers who, because of these changing times and our progress on site, now see the potential that Exmouth has to offer.

Last year, property developers Moirai Capital Investments were identified as the council’s preferred developers for the main leisure area of the Queen’s Drive site and they made significant efforts to move their proposals forward in difficult circumstances. The council has spoken with Moirai, advising them that due to the length of time the process has taken, it’s considering the re-marketing option, and would welcome a further proposal from them as part of this if it does so.

Chris Lewis from Moirai Capital said:

We fully appreciate the council’s decision to review this project following the legal delays for the project.

We remain extremely interested in the potential for the site but understand that time has elapsed and the original concepts will need reviewing. As such we remain committed to the site and will look to rebid as we see Exmouth has the potential for a vibrant and exciting scheme to attract visitors, create jobs and drive forward wet weather facilities for the area.

The council has outline planning permission to develop the Queen’s Drive site to include a cafe and public open space, retail units, a hotel or holiday accommodation, car parking, and indoor and outdoor play facilities for children and young people of all ages.

This includes the watersports centre at the front of the Queen’s Drive site, where the council has forged a partnership with Grenadier Estates for the proposed new £4 million community-owned centre. This would put Exmouth at the very forefront of watersports both nationally and internationally, attracting an estimated 60,000 people a year.

The council also has approval to realign the road and car park to the rear of the proposed watersports centre once planning permission for the centre is in place.