Agenda and draft minutes

Virtual consultative meeting, Placemaking in Exmouth Town and Seafront Group (formerly Exmouth Queen's Drive Delivery Group) - Monday, 10th October, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Online via the Zoom app

Contact: Sarah James  01395 519978 Email:  sjames@eastdevon.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

5.

Public speaking

Minutes:

There were no members of the public registered to speak.

6.

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 19 July 2022 pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Minutes:

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 19 July 2022 were noted as a true and accurate record.

7.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were none.

8.

Progress Update on Placemaking in Exmouth pdf icon PDF 184 KB

Minutes:

The Project Manager – Place & Prosperity (Exmouth) ran through the update report which summarised progress since the Group’s last meeting on 19 July 2022, highlighting the following points:

·        The fairground provider took up occupancy of the Queen’s Drive Space on 7 July 2022 and then departed three weeks later without any notice or contact, impacting negatively on other traders due to the loss of footfall.   The Events Team tried to find a replacement but the lack of lead-time proved challenging.

·        A debriefing meeting was held with the Queen’s Drive Space traders.

·        Contact was made with Devon County Council (DCC) Highways concerning signposting for parking along Queen’s Drive and the seafront.  DCC had responded that there was no current budget for additional signs.

·        Led by colleagues in DCC, the Levelling Up Fund bid was submitted and it is hoped the outcome will be known in November 2022.

·        In conjunction with Cllr Hayward as Portfolio Holder, officers are negotiating Heads of Terms with McCarthy and Stone to enable the transfer at nil consideration of the freehold of Land to the South of Redgates, Salterton Road, Exmouth, to East Devon DC, with the opportunity to develop four commercial units as part of the Developer’s Planning obligation by Unilateral Undertaking under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, subject to a satisfactory build and sign off of same.

 

Discussion included the following points:

·        All Members had been invited to the consultation where a presentation was made concerning the Levelling Up Fund Bid and the Project Manager – Place and Prosperity, Exmouth could forward a copy of the presentation to any Members who had missed it. One Member expressed that she was keen to understand what was included, and how the current bid differs from previous iterations of the proposal.

·        Members discussed various ways to move forward with improving signage to car parks in the context of the response from DCC, particularly to direct drivers to lesser used car parks e.g. Maer Road.  It was noted that Highways signage was a matter for DCC and outside of the remit of EDDC, but EDDC could look to improve signage within its own car parks.  This Council could approach Devon County Council with an offer to pay for a sign on the highway. 

·        Some Members suggested lobbying DCC and the MP for East Devon concerning signage, and expressed frustration at the difficulties encountered with DCC.

·        Members recognised that for reasons of disability, or for large families where other means of travel could be quite expensive, some people needed to use cars or other vehicles to access the town and seafront.

·        It was felt that only one additional sign is needed at the Queen’s Drive car park which informs drivers of other car parks they can use.

 

Cllr De Saram proposed, seconded by Cllr Gazzard, that the Group recommends to Cabinet that an existing budget is made available to Devon County Council to erect one additional sign directing visitors to alternative parking, and to make  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Proposals for the temporary uses of Queen's Drive Space for the 2023 Season pdf icon PDF 224 KB

Minutes:

The Project Manager Place and Prosperity (Exmouth) presented the report, highlighting the following points:

·        Significant refurbishment work on the Queen’s Drive Space had taken place prior to Easter 2022, supported by the ERDF Welcome Back Fund, to a value of £40k.

·        Some difficulties had been encountered particularly with the fairground provider and with the lead in time of getting paperwork out to colleagues in LED to order equipment for the Fitness Space.

·        A debrief meeting with traders had been constructive and traders had been enthusiastic to take up opportunities for next year.

 

Discussion included:

·        Members discussed whether traders could open later in the evenings.  It was recognised that there were reasons why some could not stay open longer, and it was difficult to predict when demand would be strong, but there were opportunities in the evenings and perhaps traders could operate on a rota basis.

·        The new cycle racks were a welcome addition to Queen’s Drive but there were only four, and more would be needed to meet demand.

·        To attract the right operatives, the Queen’s Drive Space is promoted through the Council’s website, on social media and through industry bodies, and this had been quite successful to date in getting a good set of traders.

 

The following recommendations were approved in a vote of Members present:

 

RECOMMENDED to Cabinet to delegate to the Service Lead – Place, Assets & Commercialisation::

1.     To grant leases to current tenants based on their current rents and include a goodwill benefit of a reduction in their rent for the incoming season of 15% below the current market rate. If the current tenants are unable to take up the offer for 2023 season then we would market the pitches in a tender process.

2.     The Events Space will be tendered to attract an operator for the season. If one cannot be appointed for the season we will then put out a tender for the 6 weeks school holidays. Out of this time, the events team will hire out the Event Space as per the events Policy, terms and conditions, and Portfolio Holder agreed prices.

3.     We consider a proposal from LED for the fitness space for 2 seasons (received in 26th July 2022) ie 2023/2024 subject to Heads of Terms being agreed – noting that we would have to include a break clause (with a pre-agreed compensatory payment) should we reach a decision to bring forward a development at Queen’s Drive Space.

 

Reason for recommendations:

·        To ensure a vibrant level of activity at Queen’s Drive Space.

·        To allow tenants to better prepare for the season with leases in place before they take possession, and to save on the costs of protracted negotiations of previous years.

·        Appointing a leisure operator to manager the fitness space.

·        Hire out the events space when not occupied.

·        Seeking a reliable operator for the events space for the 2023 season.

10.

Results of Placemaking in Exmouth Consultation and Next Steps pdf icon PDF 225 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Project Manager Place and Prosperity (Exmouth) introduced the report which summarises the outcome of the consultation exercise to determine the key themes and characteristics for successful placemaking in Exmouth town and seafront as discussed at the workshop held with the Delivery Group on the 6th of April 2022.  The report provides the feedback received from the consultations, online questionnaires, independently carried out face-to-face questionnaires by the South West Research Company, and proposes next steps.

 

Discussion included:

·        Some Members commented that the dinosaur park is very popular and they would like to see it maintained and extended, perhaps using CIL money.  The park is free to use and important for the community particularly in the context of the cost of living crisis, and needs to be maintained well for reasons of health and safety.  Other Members recognised the appeal of the dinosaur park but noted that Members were not here to pitch for what they want on Queen’s Drive, but were voting on the process.  The Project Manager Place and Prosperity (Exmouth) commented that it was important to look to the whole of Exmouth at what the Council can deliver, based on evidence from the consultation and taking account of the pressures for the whole town, and it was not appropriate to look to develop areas of the area in isolation to others.

·        Members felt it was important to have accessible play equipment for children and young adults, to make Exmouth a welcoming family-friendly destination for all.  

·        One Member commented that workshops and consultations had taken place before for over ten years, and people were losing faith.  Another Member remarked that a huge amount of work had taken place over the past two years to get to a good place; Exmouth is a major town in the south west and there was a huge amount of work still to do to fulfil and deliver a proper vision for the town and seafront.

·        The Finance Director would be asked to set out to Cabinet where £100k of the proposed £160k budget will come from.  It was noted that £60k is available from the original £200k allocated by Members for staffing resources to support Exmouth Placemaking.

·        The suggested £160k budget is based on previous work that the Project Manager Place and Prosperity (Exmouth) has done on the size and scale of this nature. There is likely to be a cocktail of ways of financing delivery of the placemaking plan.

·        One Member suggested allocating a further £50k in the budget to facilitate full delivery of what is required.  Another Member felt it was not appropriate to allocate additional funding, without knowing what it is for. 

·        Cllr Armstrong stated that she gave her apologies for the 20 June 2022 Stakeholder Consultation meeting but this was not recorded in the minutes that had been published as appendix.  The Project Manager Place and Prosperity (Exmouth) stated he would make a correction to the minutes accordingly.

·        The Project Manager Place and Prosperity (Exmouth) confirmed a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.