Exmouth Vision is rooted in the views, wishes and aspirations of those who live in, work in and visit the town. It has been shaped through extensive consultation, listening to what people say and capturing what they really think should happen to Exmouth in the years ahead.
Many of the Vision’s proposals – such as transforming the entry point to the town and the future of some seafront attractions – have been the subject of keen debate and discussion across the town for many years. The current priorities emerged from over a year’s worth of workshops, study and consultation in 2010 and 2011 involving many groups, businesses and individuals. During that time, several thousand people across the town have taken the trouble to look at and read about plans for change, having the opportunity at every stage to ask detailed questions and register their views about what lies ahead.
So it is important to understand that these proposals have not been produced out of a hat, or made up through a hasty process to meet potential funding deadlines. Exmouth Vision is a journey which began many years ago with now, we hope, a realistic prospect of progress and delivery during the years ahead.
In 2010, EDDC – working with planning and design consultants LDA – held eight major workshops with over 200 landowners, business representatives and community leaders. These were no tick-box exercises but carefully planned and supported sessions aimed at getting to the heart of a complicated range of options for change and progress in Exmouth. The focus, relentlessly, was on what could work rather than what definitely wouldn’t.
This wide range of views helped shape a Masterplan that was presented for public scrutiny in the summer of 2011. Public exhibitions, a dedicated website and information distributed to clubs, organisations and businesses throughout the town all helped spread the word. Other promotional measures included:
- Extensive coverage in Exmouth and East Devon media throughout the consultation period
- Flyers and information posted to all Exmouth residents on EDDC’s ‘Speak Now’ residents panel
- Posters in community centres in and around Exmouth
- Posters and information posted at Exmouth Fire Station, Exmouth Police Station, Town and District Council offices and Exmouth Community College
- 3,500 flyers and 50 posters distributed at locations as diverse as:
- Sandy Bay Holiday Park
- Exmouth Youth Centre
- Shops in the Parade and Exeter Road
- Exmouth Library
- Exmouth LED Sports Centre, Pavilion, Train station, Heath Centre
Formal public exhibitions were held during the last week of June 2011 in Elizabeth Hall and then in the Magnolia Centre during early July 2011. All the exhibition material, when not being used for these formal events, was on display throughout the summer of 2011 at the Thomas Tucker shopin Exmouth town centre, signposting people to where they could comment on the proposals.
All in all, the public consultation period for Exmouth Vision during 2011 was promoted far and wide in the town. The consultation materials were designed to allow all with an interest to engage in the way that they wanted to. Some studied the proposals in detail, asked questions and took the chance to fill in a detailed questionnaire giving their views. Others had a quick read, looked at the plans and then moved on. Some saw the consultation in passing, some chose to look at it up close. Importantly, everyone who wanted to engage and really get involved was able to do just that.
And of course consultation and gathering of views continues. Informal proposals about what could take shape at ‘Exmouth Splash’ have now been shared with existing businesses on Queen’s Drive, with full public consultation to follow later in the autumn. A similar sharing of detailed options is planned for next steps on Estuaryside, probably in 2013. EDDC is also working with water users and landowners to put new plans for a re-built slipway and related developments forward for public examination.
Exmouth Vision is a broad and far reaching set of proposals, so of course not everyone agrees with all of it. This is about the future of a town, after all. Broad consultation often produces single rallying points for those unhappy with some aspects of the direction of change; Exmouth has seen this in recent months through the Elizabeth Hall petition. All expressions of concern deserve respect and a fair hearing, so EDDC’s job is to weigh the emotion behind a simple ‘no’ against the desire for change expressed so clearly – if less bluntly – across the town over many years.
In recent years, several thousand people have come to find out about change in Exmouth. Many more will have read and seen from a distance. Building a consensus about how to say yes is a lot harder than signing a form to say no. Consultations aim to get inside the skin of complicated issues, gathering the views and opinions of all parts of the community on making constructive progress on difficult issues.