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 the offer to erect the sign ourselves. This sign to be nearby to the Queen’s Drive and Sideshore car parks.
The Chair proposed a second recommendation to Cabinet to improve signage within the Council’s own East Devon car parks to inform members of the public of additional car parking.
Members voted in favour of both recommendations.
RECOMMENDED TO Cabinet:
1. That an existing budget is made available to Devon County Council to erect one additional sign directing visitors to alternative parking, and to make the offer to erect the sign ourselves. This sign to be nearby to the Queen’s Drive and Sideshore car parks.
2. To improve signage within the Council’s own East Devon car parks to inform members of the public of additional car parking.