East Devon District Council is having trouble selling an unusual building on Seaton seafront. 

Known as Seaton ‘Moridunum’ (Latin for ‘sea fort’), the structure has disused public toilets below it and a ramped walkway over the top.

A design brief shows how it could be refurbished into a café, whilst keeping and enhancing the “much-loved and well-used” walkway and its “breathtaking” views of the bay.

Its leasehold was marketed over the summer for an undisclosed sum as a “commercial development opportunity”.

Seventeen parties showed interest, but no offers were made to buy it.

Midweek Herald: A computer-generated image showing how the building could look as a café.A computer-generated image showing how the building could look as a café. (Image: Nash Partnership/ EDDC)

Cllr Olly Davey (Green, Exmouth Town) asked why at a recent council meeting.

The council’s project manager for place and prosperity Alison Hayward replied: “We don’t receive that feedback.

“If they’re not interested, they don’t tell the agent why they’re not going to bid. I suspect it’s a challenging site, a challenging building to take on.  

“And we had specifically set the criteria with expectations of a placemaking delivery, retaining the walkway above, for example, and enhancing that.

“So we had some of our own requirements which we were expecting of any bidders when they came forward with their proposals.

“It wasn’t just a straightforward here’s a site, what would you like to do with this, offer us the best price.

“We had certain criteria and whether it was that that made people reluctant to bid, but we’ll explore that further with the agent.”