Spoken is a cafe bar in Exmouth, Devon. It has recently undergone a refurbishment programme to create a new look and feel - investment and jobs. This change was forced because of a tripling of business rates and other business pressures. The works carried out include the part-removal of INTERNAL plaster that is just 7 years old. The signage has been in situ for 11 years and the decision is asking for wooden, hand-painted signs and the re-plastering of the walls.
This may not sound like a big deal but the money involved to put this right, and the image that will be taken away will certainly affect trade putting at risk 14 jobs. The town needs investment and businesses that consumers want - consumers do want this. The business cannot afford to make these alterations and will almost certainly close if forced to make these changes.
Whether you like the colour or style of what we have done or not, we ask you to look at the bigger picture of employment and variety in a town centre. This decision was made on the grounds of protecting "the surrounding area". Locals will know that the "surrounding area" has been allowed to have drug shops, late night food venues - all with the same/similar signage, and the only other listed building to be sat there left to rot and be an eye-sore to the town (Thomas Tucker) - what would they prefer?
Interesting points to take into account are:-
- Enforcement officers have been in attendance on 4 occasions, and hours of meetings have taken place to ensure the application was correct, why was this not addressed then or viewing of the premises taken by the decision-makers to understand the "surrounding area" they are making a decision on?
- Enforcement officers attended and wanted to prevent us opening on re-launch because of the signage - we have made no change to signage - it has been "illegal" for 11 years - why now us?
- Applications have been refused 2 times because of site plans that were acceptable 6 years ago by large developer - but not us.
- The business is Nationally recognised as one of the best spirits bars in the UK and helps with tourism and is growing all the time. Why would local councils not support this?
- No structural alterations have been made to the building, purely cosmetic
If you have any questions I would be delighted to discuss these with you.
Thank you for reading