Seaton masterplan wins backing from East Devon District Council’s cabinet

A masterplan for Seaton that would see a new tramstop created to provide a direct link to the Wetlands has been backed.

East Devon District Council’s cabinet on Wednesday night through their support by the masterplan, which aims to create a new circular walking/cycle route around three of Seaton’s most popular attractions – Seaton Wetlands, Seaton Jurassic and Seaton Tramway.

The three are run by different organisations, but collectively offer a combined environmental, heritage and educational experience, and the aim of the masterplan project is to make it easy for visitors to combine visits to all three attractions in one day from one starting point.

Asking for the cabinet to back the plans, the Service Lead for Countryside and Leisure, Charlie Plowden, said it was a good news story and that the masterplan project interventions would present an almost unique offer, including transport, education, natural history, wildlife watching and refreshment.

He added: “The Seaton Wetlands Link project offers the opportunity to create a comprehensive tourism offer for Seaton that links the council’s tourism assets in the town and will offer visitors a day long experience on foot, by bike or in part using Seaton Tramway. It will enhance the Seaton Jurassic offer enabling the visitor centre to maximise its potential as a key attraction along the Jurassic coast.

“Creating a masterplan of projects and an officer group focussed on delivery will ensure that momentum is maintained in creating this important circular link for Seaton promoting its natural and cultural environment.”

A group of officers and external partners will now form a project delivery group that will identify and report on the feasibility of delivery of these interventions, make recommendations for taking the projects forward, if feasible, and secure funding for their delivery, where funding is not already in place.

Backing the plans, Cllr Marcus Hartnell, who represents the Seaton ward, said he welcomed this. He added: “These are extremely exciting initiatives and I look forward to seeing the link between Seaton Jurassic, the Wetlands and the Tramway.”

Cllr Paul Arnott, whose Coly Valley ward covers part of the Wetlands and borders the new tramstop, added: “I am delighted to hear about this. This is an easy win and something fantastic that should be backed. Seaton Wetlands has been a great success.”

Cllr Geoff Pook, portfolio holder for asset management, added: “I have just one word to say on this – absolutely brilliant. The report on the aspirations are great.”

Seaton masterplan new tramstop

One of the masterplan interventions include a new Seaton Wetlands halt on the Seaton Tramway, and a planning application for the new station has now been submitted to East Devon District Council.

Explaining the proposal, a statement with the application says: “It has been a long-held ambition to provide a direct link from Seaton to Seaton Wetlands by using trams as the connecting piece. This creates a safe and reliable link to the existing Wetlands infrastructure.

“The current Tramway arrangement does not allow for trams to stop at this location. Therefore, it is proposed that a new timetable tramstop is created at the existing Swan’s Nest ‘passing loop’. The new tramstop would allow passengers to alight from the tram and access directly onto the Wetlands and enable visitors, including people with physical disabilities, to get off the trams and explore this stunning natural environment.”

Subject to planning permission being granted, works will commence in 2020, the cabinet meeting heard, with other actions that had could soon begin include the creation of Sheep’s Marsh – a potted version of the Wetlands – and the extension to the Seaton Jurassic outdoor space.

Benefits from the proposal, the report to the cabinet said, include tourists and visitors being able to combine their visits from a single destination providing a seamless visitor experience on foot/bike or in part, tram from one destination to the other, the creation of more green space, offer a direct link to the Seaton Wetlands and help to showcase the nature reserve to a new audience and help it become more financially self-sustaining.

Recommendations for taking the projects forward, and on securing funding for their delivery, where funding is not already in place, will come back to the cabinet at a later date.

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