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Building on the beach?

There was a huge turnout this morning for a consultation on a hotel development which has been proposed for the Breakwater Bistro site. I queued for well over an hour to get in to see the plans, and everyone I spoke to was against it. There was anger, shock and quiet but steely determination that this will not be given permission to go ahead. It will be interesting to see how Torbay Council responds in time. The developer told me all the young people who’d seen the plans were hugely enthusiastic. Which was odd because all the young people I spoke to outside were dead against it. Admittedly those in favour probably didn’t go along today to see the plans, so it may not have been an entirely balanced sample of people. But it was very clear that the residents of Brixham feel this has been sprung on them from nowhere, with no consultation. That the proposed buildings are too big, too overbearing for the site and don’t suit the existing architecture around them. I am not against investment and good development. I am absolutely not against job creation or economic regeneration. However I remain to be convinced that a boutique hotel built above the town beach is the answer Brixham needs. Hospitality businesses in Brixham are already struggling to find staff as it is. Are more minimum wage seasonal hospitality jobs what is wanted or needed? Breakwater beach is a precious natural resource. One of the only open spaces in Brixham where people can go and spend time outdoors, soaking in the incredible view, without having to pay for food or drink. It’s important for families, for swimmers, for those who can’t get to other beaches out of town. It’s value is in the simplicity of it. A value that doesn’t have a price. The feeling this morning was that this hotel will be overbearing, will block out the light and the sun, leaving the beach in shade, and will totally change the feel of this much loved town beach. It’s a pity the architects hadn’t done a shade analysis before the consultation to show what the impact will be. I'm v


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