Budding town planner says his blueprint for the resort is purely an academic exercise with no official status

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AN undergraduate studying town design has moved to set the record straight about his “masterplan” for Seaton.

Michael Clare has called a public meeting next month to help him formulate an improvement scheme for the resort.

The project has sparked considerable local interest and last week the Herald published ideas from award-winning shopping centre designer James Meyer on how to rejuvenate the town - inspired by Mr Clare’s appeal for suggestions.

But while welcoming his input, Mr Clare has asked us to make it clear that his is purely an academic exercise.

In a statement to this newspaper, he said: “I am in the third year of my Masters degree in town and country planning at Manchester University. Part of my research interests is urban design, public participation and the way in which public participation can affect design.

“I am undertaking my dissertation which will be a design plan for Seaton, and I am looking for people to help assist me with putting this together. I am inviting any volunteers to Eyre Court Hotel, Eden room, from 6.30pm on Monday, March 4, to help assist me with this project.

“The ultimate aim will be to take suggestions and views that I will compile and use to create my final masterplan project.

“The reason for choosing Seaton as my subject is family connections with the town.

“My grandfather was chairman of Seaton council in the 1970s and I am a frequent visitor to the town.

“In response to the article published in the Midweek Herald on February 20, I just want residents to know that this is just purely an academic exercise for my research and is in no way connected to Seaton Town Council, East Devon District Council or any other current or future regeneration schemes in the town.

“I would be so very grateful for anybody who would like to come along on the 4th and help me with this but I do not want to waste anybody’s time or any residents to attend on false pretences.

“I am more than happy to discuss this further and can be contacted on 01297529167 or by email: michael.clare@student.manchester.ac.uk”

l Mr Meyer, who won the European design prize for his work on the shopping centre at Hempstead Valley, in Kent, says Seaton’s architecture and road layout are so out of date they are no longer suitable and the town urgently needs a central hub.

He said he wanted to help Seaton become the ‘real’ gateway to the Jurassic Coast, and a much sought after town to live in or visit as a tourist.

“With careful planning, rerouting of traffic and the provision of attractive shopping, life can be breathed back into Seaton to make it the wonderful town to live in and attract tourists,” he added.

Seaton Town Council has asked Mr Meyer to contact them so they can discuss his ideas for improvement to the town, a project on which officials are already working.

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