Exmouth and the Election Winning Missing Millions....
Updated: Jan 3, 2021
WHERE’S THE PROMISED INVESTMENT IN EXMOUTH TOWN CENTRE?
Conservative MP Simon Jupp ran for the East Devon constituency in the 2019 General Election on one clear, firm commitment that he assured us on his campaign blog he had personally secured: that Exmouth would receive a share of the government’s Future High Street Fund to invest in its town centre. This guarantee was reported in the local press, without a right of reply from other candidates, just days before we went to the polls.
But on Boxing Day, it was revealed that Exmouth wouldn’t receive a single penny of the £1bn fund.
In October, Exmouth’s town centre was identified by the County Council as one of Devon’s most hardest hit by COVID-19. Funding has instead been handed to 72 other High Streets, many of which the constituencies of government Ministers!
We know that Exmouth has an impressive range of fantastic-quality independent businesses and hospitality venues in the town centre. But the current surroundings in the Magnolia Centre make for a woeful backdrop and shopping experience. Once a purposeful landmark in the town centre, now a ruin battered and bruised by storms, the broken clock epitomises the sad decline of the Magnolia Centre.
Exmouth’s town centre was long overdue a makeover before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has made things more urgent. Earlier this year we successfully lobbied for the Town Council to put aside money to remove the clock and hopefully replace it with something appropriate in 2021.
Whether it’s the loose paving stones tripping us, the sad sight of the increasing number of empty shop fronts, or that clock, investment is desperately needed to boost tourism and bring more residents shopping at local independent businesses, using our services and bucking the trend of online shopping and out of town mega stores. A post-pandemic recovery for the town will rely heavily on this effort.
We call on Simon Jupp to explain to us when the promised funding will reach Exmouth, or whether his announcement in the run-up to the December election was merely a piece of opportunistic false statement designed to win a hitherto too-close-to-call marginal seat.
Cllr Paul Millar
Cllr Joe Whibley