time for a plan for Seaton

PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:58 15 June 2010

I would have thought the path to lift Seaton out of its undoubted difficulties is a relatively clear one. I've lived just across the river in Axmouth for the last ten years, and never a day passes without me thinking what a fantastic location it is and h

I would have thought the path to lift Seaton out of its undoubted difficulties is a relatively clear one. I've lived just across the river in Axmouth for the last ten years, and never a day passes without me thinking what a fantastic location it is and how lucky we are to live here. My wife complains constantly how I never want to go on holiday because I like it so much here! We have natural attractions most towns can only dream of: one of Britain's finest views onto the "Jurassic" coastline which stands comparison with any in the world; and wealth of flora, fauna and geology which is unsurpassed. Seaton is crying out to be a centre of environmental tourism, and already some steps are being taken in the right direction. The new cycle route provides a superb opportunity to attract that kind of visitor. Our Primary School has already led the way with a Green tinge. I think the district and county councils should come up with a "Plan for Seaton". In my view it cannot be too bold or imaginative. A tame proposal for piecemeal development simply won't do. Let's invite developers, investors and local people to let their imaginations rip. We already have some great places to eat. What we need now is major investment to provide more great places to stay - and, perhaps, the odd attraction to complement the tramway when the weather is, let's say, not as good as it normally is. Though the proposal for a Tesco eco-store is a dramatic improvement on what was originally being suggested, that site must be used principally for tourist accommodation. I have no grudge against Tesco but one more, amongst the cartload we already have in East Devon, will never attract people to the area. At least Sainsbury's would be locally unique, though it would still threaten the shops that remain on our High Street. I am well aware of the deep economic problems which make investment difficult but, however bad things are, when there is an opportunity like this there will always be investors to take it. Even the exchange rate is working in our favour at the moment - Seaton has things that most countries in Northern Europe do not. It's time we threw away the rulebook and took advantage of the opportunities we have. Dr Jon UnderwoodParliamentary SpokesmanTiverton and Honiton Liberal Democrats

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