The Project Manager – Place & Prosperity (Exmouth) delivered a verbal update on the next steps for Placemaking for Exmouth, including:
· Having referred back to minutes from previous meetings, he observed that there was a general consensus to ‘do something’ and maybe to ‘do something now’.
· It was stressed that officers have no preconceptions concerning the way forward for Placemaking in Exmouth, since this would be driven by the Delivery Group.
· The Project Manager – Place & Prosperity (Exmouth) sought to agree with the Delivery Group an initial way forward, and asked them to consider the following questions:
o What will successful Place and Prosperity in Exmouth look/feel like?
o What do local people want to see – what will attract them?
o What do visitors want to see – what will attract them?
· A workshop-style meeting was proposed for the evening of 6th April 2022, for Delivery Group members only to meet in person with a view to obtaining consensus on a strategic definition for what Placemaking in Exmouth would look like.
· The Project Manager – Place & Prosperity (Exmouth) shared an ambitious draft timeline for the Delivery Group:
o April 2022: Consensus on what Placemaking in Exmouth will look like – the strategic definition;
o May 2022: Consultation with the Delivery Group on the themes and characteristics agreed, with recommendations to Cabinet to go to consultation;
o June 2022: Cabinet approve consultation to the public over the summer. Publish the design and consultation (8 weeks);
o August 2022: Findings of consultation presented to the Delivery Group and recommend to Cabinet to give a clear recommendation and terms of reference for Exmouth Placemaking, to interpret the findings and come up with a number of options/business cases;
o September 2022 – Cabinet to approve the terms of reference.
· The Service Lead – Place, Assets & Commercialisation clarified that the objective for the Delivery Group was to shape the themes, characteristics and terms of reference, by September 2022. The details of what the space was to be, where it was to be and how it was to be delivered would come in a subsequent phase, post-September, to be worked up in detail using external consultancy and informed by the input of the Delivery Group and the consultation.
Comments, questions and clarification included:
· A Member remarked that local people had seen a lot of debate over the years, with consultations having taken place, and asked how officers intended to convince local people that this was not simply a rerun of a previous consultation. Another Member added that the public would want to be presented with two or three intelligent options on the way forward, and to know that their views are listened to. The Project Manager – Place & Prosperity (Exmouth) recognised the concerns and responded that a communication strategy covering a range of channels of distribution would be put together carefully in discussion with the Communications team. It was noted that the new consultation was building on what has already been done, including previous consultations, and would revisit a number of issues in light of the pandemic.
· A Member expressed a view that people from Exeter and around East Devon should be invited to participate in the consultation, given that Exmouth is the seaside destination for many people outside of Exmouth.
· Another Member commented that it was important for East Devon DC to engage with the Town Council throughout the project.
· The Portfolio Holder – Finance was pleased to see the ambitious timescale and commented that it would be important for any budget requirements to come forward by the autumn, when the budget planning exercise would be in progress for the next financial year.
· One member expressed the view that Exmouth Councillors not on the Delivery Group membership should be invited to attend the 6th April workshop, to help shape ideas. The Project Manager – Place & Prosperity (Exmouth) responded that the intention was to start with Delivery Group members only before rolling out a series of meetings with other interest groups. The Chair confirmed that the workshop would be for the Delivery Group only, to keep it focused and manageable,
· In clarification, it was confirmed that the purpose of the workshop and the consultation would be to consider Placemaking for the whole of Exmouth and not only for Queen’s Drive. The Service Lead – Place, Assets & Commercialisation stated that following the April workshop, it would be appropriate for the Delivery Group to consider, at its May 2022 meeting, making a formal recommendation to Cabinet to widen the Delivery Group’s terms of reference, to this effect.