Wayne Hemingway (photo courtesy of Glasgow Evening Times)

Cabinet to discuss appointment following idea from Transition Exmouth

Following negotiations with renowned urban designer Wayne Hemingway and HemingwayDesign  to assist with the final phase of the transformation of Exmouth seafront, East Devon District Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve the appointment of his design company.

HemingwayDesign are specialists in coastal regeneration and have worked with local authorities across the country on projects to breathe new life back into seafronts such as Boscombe, Bognor Regis, Margate, Morecambe, Lowestoft and Weston-Super-Mare.

If the appointment of HemingwayDesign is supported by the council’s Cabinet next week (March 7), Mr Hemingway and his team will play a key role in developing a fresh vision for the mix of leisure uses for phase three of the Queen’s Drive redevelopment.

The original idea to appoint HemingwayDesign to get involved in the Exmouth seafront regeneration came from local community organisation, Transition Exmouth, and the council is committed through HemingwayDesign to consult with residents, visitors, businesses and the creative community in creating proposals for the final phase of the development.

The Queen’s Drive project is split into three phases. The first phase is to realign the Queen’s Drive road and car park, which is being funded by the council, and the second phase is working with the council’s development partners, Grenadier, to build a water sports centre. Currently, the public is being consulted, as part of the planning process, on Grenadier’s plans for the centre up to Friday March 16. The planning application is likely to go before the council’s Development Management Committee in the late Spring.  

The third and final phase of the project involves the remainder of the site including the former Harbour View Café. While the future of this phase is being discussed, the council is investing in the site to keep it active and attractive with a mix of temporary uses that are also in the council’s planning process at the moment.

Councillor Philip Skinner, the council’s portfolio holder for the economy, and chairman of the Exmouth Regeneration Board said:

HemingwayDesign is very keen to come to Exmouth and work with the town on a new vision for the seafront especially now that the water sports centre design and planning proposals are moving forward.

We want to move ahead and capture ideas for phase three of the seafront site. The future of the area has been discussed and debated for many years and the appointment of HemingwayDesign will provide a renewed momentum in seeking the very best for this key site in Exmouth. Wayne and his team can work with the breadth of Exmouth stakeholders to bring a new approach to changing and improving Exmouth seafront and its value to the town and local economy. We hope that stakeholders will engage positively and creatively to this challenge.

The council has been in discussion for a while with HemingwayDesign to explore their involvement in Exmouth.

Mr Hemingway said:

We are excited about the opportunity of working in Exmouth. Timing is everything when it comes to regeneration particularly as the town is about to be offered the opportunity of a new sustainable watersports facility. This will attract a vibrant, health conscious, outdoor loving, community with a relatively high disposable income.

A new generation is realising that the British coastline has so much going for it and that crowded Mediterranean beaches don’t hold a light to the unspoilt beauty of beaches like Exmouth. There is a real opportunity for the town to look forward with confidence.

Subject to Cabinet approval at its meeting next week, officers will enter into a formal contract with HemingwayDesign.   Wayne and his team’s task will include extensive stakeholder engagement and local consultation as well as drawing on his team’s extensive knowledge and creative experience of reviving and refreshing seaside places.