Graphic Designer Tim Mann lives and works in Exmouth. He’s Design Director at Net Glue (netglue.uk), and the man behind Exmouth’s tourist website visitexmouth.org. Tim likes to spend his weekends relaxing with his family and being a cowboy (it’s true!), for Devon party band ‘Not The Cowboys’. So why does he think Exmouth is such a great place to live, work, wander and dream? Read on to find out:
“After being lucky enough to grow up in Exmouth, I had to leave the town to go to university in order to study design. I never really wanted to leave the town, but it was necessary for my education and to get that crucial work experience to develop my career. However, I’m glad I’ve now found my way back. I love living here – I mean I can go to the beach on my lunch break from work!
Someone said to me only the other day, “Exmouth is the only place where people grow up, move away for work… but they come back!” I’ve pondered why this is; what is this draw that makes people want to live in Exmouth? For me it’s the beautiful natural environment – from Exmouth’s two miles of golden sand, to the Jurassic Coast, to Woodbury Common – and it’s a great base to explore the rest of East Devon and Dartmoor. Our natural environment not only supports a healthy lifestyle; but it also supports the fantastic water-sports and other leisure activities that many local families and visitors enjoy. My family love the beach – whatever the season, whether stormy or sunny, it’s just great to be out in the fresh air. I personally believe that elusive modern-day ‘work-life balance’ is almost obtainable in Exmouth – but we just need a few more decent jobs and industry here. To achieve this, we need a plan. To regenerate and stave-off stagnation, Exmouth needs to keep pace with a changing world – doing nothing is not an option. If we don’t take a stake in our town’s future, then others will plan our town for us. I’m not against outside investment, far from it, but the people who live and work here need to have a say in Exmouth’s future. After all we have the experience and wisdom to know what our town needs and what is special about Exmouth and what must be protected.
I still mourn the loss of Rolle College – which sucked a lot of life from the town. We were lucky to have it as it gave Exmouth a really vibrant nightlife and was great for the economy. Because of this Exmouth was in the top 5 best places to spend New Year in the UK. These assets and achievements can be gone in an instant in a modern world; but they are built over a long period of time and therefore must to be protected. Personally, I would like to still see Exmouth grow culturally post the Rolle College closure. The glimmers of hope are still here. We have an amazing amount of artists and music in the town still; but this community needs to be nurtured and developed. As our culture grows, more things inevitably start to happen. With more life, comes more culture, more community, more tourists and more revenue.
There is a lot of work to do to help Exmouth stay unique and the special place that it is. But none of this will happen unless we, the community, unite behind a plan. We can’t leave this one to the politicians – we actually live here and we need to step up. So I’m supporting the plan as it gives us the chance to plan the town for ourselves. If we don’t take a stake in our town’s future, then we run the risk of decisions we may not agree with being put on us by EDDC. We could even end up becoming a suburb of Exeter – and not our own unique destination with our own character.
I also personally believe that we need crucial investment in our tourism infrastructure – be that in making it easier for visitors and locals to get out on the water; or through promotion of our town. We need to put Exmouth back on the map! I believe we can use tourism to help regenerate Exmouth – but we need to do it with the correct vision that would inform the town’s facilities and development. Personally I’d love to see Exmouth become the place for environmental tourism. When you consider all the natural things to do here – it’s not that much of a stretch of the imagination. At present I run https://www.visitexmouth.org, which seeks to promote the town to visitors and also helps locals make the most out of living here by keeping people up-to-date with events and things to do. My further hope with the site is that it will help unite the town behind a vision. We are a fragmented town geographically (the beach, town centre and ‘suburbs’ are a little disconnected); and also community-wise (we’re an odd size as Exmouth is too large to have a close-knit community, but too small to have lots of mini scenes).
The 'teeth' of the Neighbourhood Plan is that it sets out land use priorities. Essentially this means we'll be able to decide what areas are left as parks and green spaces; and what areas can be used for housing and businesses/employment land. If you’re a doubter of the Neighbourhood Plan – then I would say to you that no plan is ever perfect. I’ve seen first-hand how much work has gone into the plan (and the majority of the work has been done voluntarily). It’s hard work putting a plan like this together and it’s not an easy task. This plan marks our intent as a community to inform the future direction of our town. It can be tweaked and amended over time. If our town is to survive and regenerate, then we need our own unique, independent vision, which will develop our town’s unique assets. The Exmouth Neighbourhood Plan goes a long way to achieving this.” If you, like Tim, want to support the Exmouth Neighbourhood Plan then remember to vote at the referendum in March.
Getting the work-life balance right with fellow cowboys Ben Higgins and Mark Keitly. We like to think we’re the second best boy band in Devon behind the Wurzels!
Exmouth also has a large Christian and spiritual community (I would argue there’s more alternative people here than in Totnes!). I believe this is down to our amazing natural environment, which attracts an incredible mix of people. Our wide-open undeveloped beach and limitless sea horizon lets one ponder, bimble and dream (I think this also inspires the artists/musicians I referred to earlier). To me this aspect of Exmouth needs to be protected; so any development on the sea front must be sustainable, appropriate and low impact.
I enjoyed working on this design for the Exmouth Jurassic trail
© Exmouth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group website: Rob Masding