Developer given 8 weeks to complete Exmouth Bowling Alley
By PGStrange | Thursday, November 15, 2012, 15:09
EXMOUTH'S £2 MILLION SEAFRONT bowling alley – which has been hit by a string of delays ever since work began on it in February 2008 – may be finished in eight weeks, following legal action by East Devon District Council. The council has served notice on the site developers – Harlequinn Bowling and Leisure Limited – that the building must be handed back to EDDC if the work isn't completed within two months...
Exmouth's Bowling Alley, pictured earlier this year
EDDC says that:"The notice draws a firm line in the sand, placing a fair deadline on the developer and hopefully encouraging a swift resolution to the long-term issue. If the developer does not meet the deadline, EDDC would look to complete the building work itself and find an operator to open the finished Centre to the public as soon as possible."
Exmouth People has so far been unable to contact Mark Quinn, the Bowling Alley's developer for a comment, but he has confirmed to the local press that he's received the notice from EDDC and is working hard to get the building open "as soon as possible".
Mr Quinn says he's confident his team can meet the deadline, and "bring the opening of this landmark building, which is the most beautiful building in Exmouth, forward".
EDDC's move follows legal and operational problems with third parties which saw Harlequinn Bowling and Leisure Limited revise its anticipated completion date for the Centre to summer 2012. EDDC says this has clearly not happened, and with no firm and specific undertakings being given since then, the council says it "has now moved to bring matters to a conclusion".
"Our continued ambition in all of this is to make sure that the Bowling Centre is complete and open for business as soon as possible for the benefit of Exmouth residents and visitors," said Cllr Graham Godbeer, EDDC Cabinet Member and Portfolio Holder for Economy.
"It has been a very frustrating time for all involved –no doubt including the developers themselves – but we cannot allow this situation to continue. Our contractual agreement with the developer is now in breach and we feel we now have to take this action."
Mr Godbeer has commented in the local press that EDDC is not "being heavy handed", but that "there's method in trying to get a resolution." Mr Godbeer also said that he personally applauds the building's design and feels it enhances the seafront, and that "if it was an operational facility it would be better still".
The legal notice was issued under the terms of a Building Licence between EDDC and Harlequinn Bowling and Leisure Limited agreed in 2006. Following completion of the building, under the terms of the agreement a 125-year ground lease would be transferred from the Council to Harlequinns.
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