Councillors Chris & Barbara Lewis
Our view on the Wall is very simple:-
We need a wall to safeguard our Town going forward and with the support of the Government the money is available.
The question is how should this Wall look and be sited. Full and open consultation should take place before any decision is made.
Our view is that the Wall should be sited on the beach side near the Geo Park, from the Pier to the Shoreline Restaurant and on the Green side for the rest. Thus making a child friendly area on the Prom near the Geo Park where events etc could take place.! More money should be spent on making the Wall attractive - this could be financed from the £9m the Council are getting from the recent sale of land in Collaton.
It is important that the Wall is not just a Wall but an attraction for the residents and visitors to Paignton. It will be with us for a long time!
Councillor David Thomas
I have never been in favour of the current proposal for the seawall. The Council started this process as what felt like a ‘done deal’. As soon as we were informed we asked for more information and that lead to a series of meetings with, initially councilors, a few residents, then the traders and now the Community Partnership are involved. In my view – this is a good thing. Any structure on the seafront will be there for the rest of my life and, I would imagine the next couple of generations minimum, therefore any scheme has to work from not just a seawall point of view, but from the traders view, from the community view and from our tourists views. Lots of views in there, and more importantly when it comes to a ‘public view’ this is a material consideration in terms of planning permissions. The Council seemed to focus on the ‘beautification’ of the wall and what patterns could be displayed on the wall – I believe they have missed out the most important part of the consultation, ie the wall, the structure, the position, the materials – all of this needs sorting before we move on to making it look more ‘beautiful.
These schemes tend to live or die by how much attention to detail is provided or money spent on the public realm – hence other schemes across the Country have seen 10’s of £000’s of pounds being spent on public realm – not so in this case. I have already raised this issue at the very first meeting and was informed there was likely to be little money available for public realm.
The only good thing to come out of the ‘talks’ thus far, is the Council have put the planning application on hold for 2 months, to have a proper consultation with the wider community. This is a positive step and should be recognized as such. This now allows time for as many as possible to get involved, have a say and let’s come up with something that works and doesn’t totally block the view at Paignton beach.
We are seeing 2 x major hotels being built on the seafront, one with a large restaurant area at the front and raised decking, in order for patrons to eat, drink and admire the view – Have their views been sought?
I believe the proposed seawall at Preston, will be much less ‘unsightly’ as it will lie between the 2 rows of beach huts so almost ‘hidden’ from view – although there are concerns regarding the run off of water at the Marine Parade end of the seafront and how the wall ends!
Finally, I should say, I have been happy to ‘present and front’ the community idea thus far and have at least opened up this wider debate.