A temporary car park for 50 vehicles – on an Exmouth seafront site earmarked for entertainment, recreation and leisure – has been given the green light.
However, East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) development management committee ruled the overflow facility off Queen’s Drive can only stay in place for 14 months – not three years.
Critics of the bid had previously slammed it as ‘unjustified, unnecessary and unhelpful’.
EDDC says seafront regeneration work, including a watersports centre, will result in the loss of 75 parking spaces – with its proposal aimed at mitigating this.
In a report to committee members recommending the application was approved, a planning officer said:“This is considered to be a suitable justification for the proposal, especially as the site is close to a number of key attractions, such as the bowling centre, Queen’s Drive Space and the beach.”
The plot is within an area specified as being for entertainment in a masterplan for the seafront.
The officer added: “Clearly, the proposal is not for an entertainment purpose. However, it would be temporary and would facilitate improved access to the facilities which are currently present in that area, by way of providing additional parking at busy times to compensate for that lost in the area.
“Whilst there are other parking facilities in Exmouth, these are considered to be too far from the site to have the same impact.
“As such, the proposal would support the temporary uses and watersports centre, is itself temporary in nature, and, in the absence of any other planning proposals for the site, a car park use is considered to be acceptable in planning terms until its long-term future is decided.”
Exmouth Town Council had voiced its opposition to the plan, saying: “That area of land should have been set aside for over-sevens recreation, not an unsightly and inappropriate development.”
The development management committee this afternoon (Tuesday, July 9) granted the application planning permission until September 15 2020.