Next step for final-phase Exmouth seafront regeneration is November public engagement event

Exmouth seafront designer Wayne Hemingway’s next step to delivering the final phase of regeneration is to ask for fresh insight from the town through a public engagement event in November.

Hemingway Design is considered specialists in coastal regeneration and was last year drafted in by East Devon District Council (EDDC) to help with the final phase of the transformation of Exmouth seafront.

EDDC said the design team – who have worked on projects with local authorities across the UK, updating seafronts at Boscombe, Bognor Regis, Margate, Morecambe, Lowestoft and Weston-Super-Mare – will lead a public engagement event in November, but remained tight-lipped about its details.

East Devon District Council said a cabinet report was in the pipeline regarding progress and the next steps on the delivery of Queen’s Drive Phase 3.

An EDDC spokeswoman said: “A public engagement event will be taking place in November led by Hemingway Design who have been leading on a new vision for the Queen’s Drive site.

“More information on this will come forward shortly.”

In a radio interview earlier this year, Mr Hemingway said he aimed to bring the old and new together in Exmouth, attracting younger visitors while protecting the town’s heritage.

He said attracting young entrepreneurs with fresh ideas and outlooks to set up businesses in Exmouth could be key to enticing a different demographic of visitors

Mr Hemingway said he and his team concentrate on regeneration and only work on projects in places they think have ‘real potential’.

He said British millennials, and the under-30s, were re-evaluating what they expected from British seaside towns, such as Exmouth.

The designer said it was up to Exmouth to understand what a new generation wants from such towns, while also considering the evolving taste of an older age group.

The urban designer told BBC Radio Devon: “They are re-evaluating what a lot of British seaside towns can stand for and what it can do. And if a seaside town gets it right, they can absolutely boom.”

He added: “In terms of its demographic of the people that live there (Exmouth) it’s too imbalanced.

“You can’t have that. You need people between the age of twenty six, and twenty nine, going to a place and thinking ‘I am going to have a go here’, because they create employment. And if old people don’t get that, they need to start getting it.

“It’s such a lovely place to be and on the whole, we’re ninety-five per cent getting positivity.

“There always will be negativity, that’s just human beings. You just have to put up with that.”

Mr Hemingway and his team were appointed to play a ‘key role’ in developing fresh ideas for the mix of leisure uses for the final phase of the seafront redevelopment.

Earlier this year Mr Hemingway told BBC Radio Devon he believed ‘Exmouth was on the move’, adding seaside towns getting it right can ‘absolutely boom’.

He said his team was looking at ways of drawing in visitors to Exmouth through ‘building steam’ around the new water sports centre but with consideration to existing assets, such as the tennis courts and cricket club.

He said: “Exmouth is wonderful. I didn’t know an awful lot about Exmouth but when the team went the first time, we absolutely fell in love with it. And what’s not to love – amazing beaches, a lovely location close to a great city in Exeter.

“Exeter is one of those towns that is bucking the trend of high streets doing terribly and young people want to go to university there and when that’s in the hinterland, that can give the potential to boost Exmouth.

“Mainly at the moment, it’s the older generation that visit. And then you’ve got, importantly, this catalyst that’s starting right now – the watersports centre which is going to be regionally, if not nationally, significant.

“It’s sustainably designed and is aiming at a growth area of British sport – water sports – which is a healthy thing to do and attracts all ages and families as well.

“And that’s the anchored tenant. And we’re going ‘how can we build steam around that’ – that supports family stuff going on, on the front, and also brings in the cricket club and the bowls club and the beautiful grass tennis courts?

“Bring all that together and make it a lovely place to visit for everybody.

“And (we’re) looking at the food and drink on offer at the harbour café and how that can evolve and looking at the space they have got there now.

“They have already started doing great stuff, live steaming of opera, concerts, pop-up food events and a brilliant kids’ play area.

“It’s on the move – Exmouth is on the move.”

 

  • Listen to the BBC Radio Devon interview here:

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