Positive start for regeneration board

PUBLISHED: 20:33 10 June 2008 | UPDATED: 21:54 15 June 2010

EAST Devon District Council support for the redevelopment of a former hotel complex is the ignition point for the start of regeneration work in Seaton. That is the view of Councillor Ray Franklin, who was last week appointed chairman of the Seaton Regener

EAST Devon District Council support for the redevelopment of a former hotel complex is the ignition point for the start of regeneration work in Seaton.That is the view of Councillor Ray Franklin, who was last week appointed chairman of the Seaton Regeneration Programme Board.Although the plan for Seaton Heights Hotel is a departure from local planning policy and will have to be approved by the government, there was an air of optimism when the board met, in private, at Seaton Town Hall last Friday."We are starting with a blank sheet," Councillor Franklin told the Herald immediately afterwards. "Nothing has been ruled in and nothing has been ruled out."One thing is for certain - the regeneration of Seaton offers possibly the biggest chance the resort has had in recent history to shake off its 'Cinderella' image as one of the most neglected corners of East Devon."I am confident it will work," said Councillor Franklin. "I am also confident we can generate the money. Loss of community facilities when the Lyme Bay Holiday Village closes will be looked at."East Devon MP Hugo Swire attended the meeting, along with a representative for MEP Neil Parish, the Conservatives' Prospective Parlia-mentary Candidate for Tiverton and Honiton.Members of the town, district and county councils were present, including Councillor Sandra Semple, the Mayor of Seaton, and landowners, together with stakeholders.Tesco was represented, as owner of the Lyme Bay Holiday Village site, and it was agreed that further appointments to the board should represent Seaton Tramway and owners of the Axe River site."The board's remit is to work with all landowners and to get them on the board to facilitate the programme," said Councillor Franklin."We have had a very, very positive first meeting. Everything mentioned, so far, is just a wish list. Nothing is definite. East Devon District Council is minded to approve the plan for Seaton Heights. To me, and everyone else in the room, it signals an ignition point for the regeneration of Seaton."It says that someone is able to invest in the town. There were no areas of major disagreement during the meeting and everyone in that room is determined to see Seaton pushed forward and regenerated."Councillor Franklin has high hopes for the long-term outcome. He said: "I would like to think that at the end of this whole regeneration process Seaton ended up a wealthy seaside town with hundreds of thousands of visitors a year."The potential for Seaton is massive."Speaking to the Herald on Seaton seafront during glorious weather, Councillor Franklin added: "It's a lovely beach and the possibilities for world class bird watching, walking and countryside enjoyment are all there.


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