Tuesday, July 31, 2012
The prospect of a new £500,000 Strand building looks dead in the water - after residents said ‘no’ in a town vote.
And although a large TV screen to show events and a bus shelter could be on the cards, most of the cash earmarked to Exmouth will now be lost.
As previously stated, the money was for one use only - the Strand building.
In total, 760 people voted, with 17 per cent in favour, 60 per cent saying no and 23 per cent with no view.
Some 411 votes came from came from community college students, the largest group against the plans, with 220 saying no and just 15 wanting a building.
In comparison, 28 per cent of over-81s were in support.
It was the third attempt to ‘complete’ the £3milion Strand make-over with a centrepiece building and retail unit.
Two years ago, the plans were pulled at the last minute after costs ballooned and the subsequent redesign scrapped - because of public objections - the day before it was to be determined by planners.
So the county, district and town councils pledged to give residents a say and a steering group was formed, which included retailers, the chamber of commerce, the Exmouth Residents’ and Traders’ Association (ERaTA) and councillors.
The town team led the public debate and called on residents to submit their ideas.
Conservative town council leader Cherry Nicholas, said: “This does not mean we should just leave an unfinished tarmac area.
“Clearly, this section needs finishing off. A discussion of the results will take place at council in the near future.”
Lib Dem leader Steve Gazzard said: “Clearly, people do not want a permanent building or a retail unit of any kind.
“However, there may be some scope for some more landscaping.”
Town clerk Colin Poole admitted he was surprised that students were less in favour of the idea than almost any other age group.
He added: “The responses for a big TV screen and a clock were positive, and many still want a bus shelter.”
Alan Heywood, of Franklins, said: “It’s our front garden and we just want to see some landscaping and the whole thing finished.”
Town team chairman Ade Brayley said: “We engaged with young people and went to areas where we felt their views were under represented.
“It was a very positive process and prompted lots of ideas, some of which were very creative.”