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Sunday, September 21, 2014
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Ottery: Town must be ‘top of the list’ for regeneration
Thursday, 21 August 2014
OTTERY councillors could soon embark on a major, long-term project to regenerate the town and ensure its facilities are fit for purpose in the future. Town councillors have started to explore options for a new plan for the area, which they say could help it become East Devon’s next “important” town. Similar projects have already proven successful in Seaton and Exmouth, and councillors are aiming to make sure Ottery is next in line for big changes. The project, which could take five to 10 years to complete, would involve town and district councillors working closely to deliver a thorough and detailed plan for updating Ottery. Councillors have opted to undertake further research on the possible benefits of the project, but could begin the formal process as early as next year. Discussing the idea at a recent meeting, Mayor of Ottery Councillor Glyn Dobson said: “I think the regeneration plan is a good idea for our community and we should get onto it straight away. “Exmouth and Seaton have experienced a tremendous amount of regeneration in recent years, and we have to make sure Ottery is at the top of that list.” In Seaton, EDDC has been leading a series of schemes to create jobs, encourage tourism and improve community facilities. And private investors have been working with public sector partners on the ‘Exmouth Vision’ project, to turn around a town in decline. Councillor David Cox, one of Ottery’s district council representatives, warned that the process would be neither quick nor easy, but that a team of qualified specialists would be drafted in to help deliver the project. And councillors have set the wheels in motion by beginning to look at the future benefits of the scheme. Councillor Martin Thurgood urged fellow members to consider “threats” to the town, such as Cranbrook, which may stunt Ottery’s development without further action. He said: “The town does face a need for regeneration. We need a town that will serve its residents well in the future. “There are threats, such as Cranbrook, and we need to be taken forward in a proper way. “The town has served us well in the past but we need to explore what we can do to get Ottery up there as the next important town in this district.” l Town councillors have also opted to look into initial work on a neighbourhood plan for the area, after some members called for reconsideration of the process. Representatives from each ward will work together to investigate the possible benefits of producing a plan document, which could help to give the council more say in major planning applications. Councillor Roger Giles said the town had “lost a huge amount of money” from developers’ community contributions in recent months, and the council needed to take steps to prevent similar problems reoccurring in the future.
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