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SEATON: ‘Develop our town or it will die’ warning to councillors

Thursday, 05 June 2014

DETERMINED: Vanessa Coxon, Steve Wilkinson and Olivia Kirschner pictured after setting up the “Positive Development for Everyone In Seaton” protest group.

DETERMINED: Vanessa Coxon, Steve Wilkinson and Olivia Kirschner pictured after setting up the “Positive Development for Everyone In Seaton” protest group.

A PROTEST group has been set up in Seaton to fight plans to build 43 retirement homes on the regeneration site in Harbour Road. The move follows a number of impassioned pleas during the public question time at last week’s meeting of Seaton Town Council in which residents warned the town was in danger of dying if more positive development was not allowed. One of those who addressed the council was 25 year-old Steve Wilkinson, who told councillors he was unemployed and would probably have to leave his home town like most of his friends to find a job. Mr Wilkinson is now one of the founding members of the newly-formed “Positive Development for Everyone in Seaton” protest group who have called a public meeting at the Hook and Parrot on Thursday (June 5th) at 7.30 pm. The group has already set up a “No To Retirement Homes” petition which reads: “The residents of Seaton would like to inform East Devon District Council that they wish to see a growing vibrant town with an opportunity for tourism and trade to expand. “We petition East Devon District Council to only provide permission for a hotel/holiday accommodation on the Harbour Road/Tesco regeneration site (Seaton).” The petition can be signed until the end of June before being presented to East Devon District Council. The View From Seaton met up with three of the group members - Vanessa Coxon, Mr Wilkinson and Olivia Kirschner - last Friday when they issued the following joint statement: “After the town council meeting we decided to do something. The feedback from people is that there is no need for this retirement home in Seaton. Affordable housing “We need to expand tourism, employment and affordable housing.” They also issued an appeal for like-minded people with a background in planning and marketing to get in touch. Apart from presenting the group and its aims to the public, the meeting will also see the formation of an action plan. Those unable to attend the meeting but interested in getting involved, can find out more by visiting the Positive Development For Everyone In Seaton FaceBook page or phone Olivia Kirschner on 07973 823253 or Vanessa Coxon on 01297 248 91. Around 30 members of the public attended last week’s council meeting which resulted in the meeting being held in the main hall at The Gateway following the front page story in the View from Seaton that plans for a 100 room hotel on the regeneration site had been abandoned and a planning application was imminent from developers McCarthy & Stone for 43 retirement apartments. It was the second blow connected with the regeneration site with the recent news that plans for 200 new houses on the on the site would not include any provision for affordable homes. A number of residents spoke during the public question time urging the council to oppose the plans for apartments and to encourage more development in Seaton which would attract more people to the town and provide jobs. Former mayor Bob Buskin stressed how important it was to get “fresh cash” into the town, adding: “We want to look after our old folk but we need to get something for the younger generation.” Others called for more attractions in the town to encourage more people to visit Seaton. Deputy chairman John?Meakin had intended to move a motion that “this committee (sic) discusses the proposal of McCarthy & Stone to change the use of the hotel site on harbour Road to 43 retirement homes”. But he withdrew the motion because he was concerned that the town councillors would be pre-juding the issue and would not be able to make a recommendation when the planning application came befpre the town planning committee.

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