Council reaffirms its commitment to significant investment for the project

East Devon District Council is reaffirming its commitment to significant investment to enhance Exmouth’s appeal and to consult with residents, businesses and tourists on developing a shared vision for the future regeneration of the third phase of the Queen’s Drive site in Exmouth.

The council’s Cabinet will consider a report at its next meeting on November 9 to bring forward a community-owned watersports centre for part of the site, and to outline next steps in engaging and consulting with the people of the town.

The Queen’s Drive project is split into three phases. The first and second phases are to realign the Queen’s Drive road and car park, which is being funded by the council, and working with the council’s development partners Grenadier to build the £4 million watersports centre.

The council is now looking for fresh ideas for the third and final phase of the project which involves the remainder of the golf site, the fun park and the Harbour View Cafe sites. This area has been earmarked for a mix of leisure uses and consulting with residents, visitors and businesses will be a key priority as this phase of the project moves forward.

The council plans to commission expert help to develop a vision for the site and is already looking at the options for the right expertise that it needs. A suggestion from a local Exmouth group is that the council should approach Wayne Hemingway Design, as one possible provider. This, among other options, is being explored by the council.

The report updates the Cabinet on the current and future planning status of the nine-acre site, which is equivalent, in size, to around four football pitches. The council has outline planning permission to redevelop the area which was granted in January 2014 for three years. In order for the council to secure the future of the site, it needs to go through a technical exercise – a reserved matters planning application - so that planning permission remains in place.

The report also highlights that gross costs for the Queen’s Drive project have now more than doubled from £1.5 million to £3.1 million. The council appreciates that this is a large increase but unfortunately when a project is delayed, costs will inevitably rise. The council will now manage the revised projections within the scope of the project plan.

The report emphasises that the additional costs will maximise the improvement of the area and it outlines the multiple funding applications that the council has underway that could help fund the project.

Cllr Philip Skinner, the council’s portfolio holder for the Economy, and Chairman of the Exmouth Regeneration Board, said that although the costs had increased, the council was committed to the town and its key regeneration project.

He said:

Exmouth matters to this council and people can take pride in what we have enabled to happen already: the Strand, Premier Inn, and the work underway for a bigger, better slipway at Mamhead are a successful reflection of the way Exmouth is changing.  The renewal of Queen’s Drive will bring further huge benefits to the town. 

We have always said that we would further consult with our residents when the time was right to do so which we hope will be early next year. This will begin with consultation by our partner developers, Grenadier, when they bring forward their proposals for the watersports centre.