Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Developers want to pull down The Grove and build a gym, shops, housing and offices
A multi-million pound scheme to demolish Seaton’s long-established Grove Niteclub and replace it with a gym, shops and housing has been unveiled.
The plan has already won the backing of senior councillors, despite opposition from some young people.
Leading support for the development is Seaton’s county and district councillor, Jim Knight. He says it would rid the area of the late night disturbances suffered for years by nearby residents, provide a much needed local fitness facility and boost town centre trade.
The project has been drawn up by Axminster Tools and Machinery’s pension fund which sees local sports provision as a good investment for its members’ money.
The company says it is currently working with Leisure East Devon (LED) in trying to source land and construct gyms for them and this is “the first one that will come to fruition”.
It says: “Our vision is to remove The Grove nightclub which possibly has come to the end of an era and replace it with a purpose-made gym to suit modern needs of a wide age range of the local population.
“We will also have space on the ground floor for two retail units in the centre of the town with good car sparking. “Finally we will have some prestigious offices on the top floor with sea views and a delightful roof terrace.
“The scheme will also provide five modern houses in the middle of the town within walking distance of all the amenities.”
“The closure of The Grove may be a sad day for a small sector of the population but its location close to a number of housing developments means that it must have provided considerable nuisance into the early hours for all the local residents. Our proposal will bring peaceful environment to the area and activities that keep reasonable hours.”
Cllr Knight, who was briefed on the project along with one other district council ward member, Steph Jones, and senior officers, says he is totally in favour.
He says the location is ideal – a gym would be far better for the town than a noisy nightclub – and being close to the town centre the development would almost certainly boost trade for the shopkeepers.
“It is about providing facilities for Seaton,“ he told The Herald. “I think it is a good scheme.”
But not everyone is in favour.
Town and district councillor Peter Burrows, who has published details of the scheme on his website, has received a number of critical comments from young people.
Amongst them was:
* “This is an abomination! The grove is the only place for the youth to go and hang out! The only place we go to on a boring Saturday night! It’s stupid.”
* “The kids are the new generation and yet you are trying to drive them out. With nothing to keep them occupied they will turn their attentions to other activities such as crime!”
* “What a great idea, more things that Seaton doesn’t actually need and what are all the younger people going to do without a nightclub, perhaps they could hang out at Tescos with the kids who should be at a youth club.
* “Literally stupid as hell. Do you want seaton to turn into Sidmouth just for retired people? Yeah great idea for the community and that will really help the town progress!
“ I agree that seaton needs a gym and recreational facilities but think that putting them where The Grove is will be another huge waste of potential for the town.”