Saturday, April 7, 2012
Councillors having had to concede to the furious objections of residents to the proposed development on The Strand, it might be assumed East Devon District Council would hesitate before placing another unpopular and unilateral planning decision before the people of Exmouth.
Yet, once again,EDDC is proposing the construction of a large supermarket next to the estuary, having withdrawn from a previous attempt several years ago to locate an ASDA supermarket on a similar site in the face of strong opposition from the community.
As a result of the well-orchestrated campaign and objections raised by interested parties, on the grounds of both conservation and commerce, EDDC must have been made aware of the many obstacles it would encounter in attempting a renewed planning proposal. But, nevertheless, it seems EDDC is prepared to go ahead.
Of primary importance, the estuary itself is a unique and internationally protected wetlands area and should be sensitively managed. It extends along the coast as far as Orcombe Point at the start of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.
These landmarks make Exmouth an area of national importance, as well as great beauty and its development should be treated with respect. A supermarket on this site would be disastrous. Not only would it be an eyesore, but it would cause untold damage to this fragile environment and to the wildlife.
In addition, I am surprised EDDC is planning to use the Imperial Playing Field as the site of the proposed supermarket. The National Planning Policy Framework clearly states that “existing open space, sports and recreational buildings and land, including playing fields, should not be built on unless the development is for alternative sports and recreational provision”.
When I passed the playing field on Saturday, a two-day rugby festival featuring dozens of teams and hundreds of youngsters was in full progress - an example of how well-used this valuable resource is. Its development as a supermarket would be a great loss to the community.
It will be to everyone’s benefit if the estuary and its surroundings are protected and the people of Exmouth decide for themselves if a supermarket is needed, what brand it should be and a convenient and appropriate site.
12 Bicton Place, Exmouth.