In October 2020, Edge Watersports, run by five-time world champion kitesurfer, Steph Bridge, and her family were the first tenants to open their doors at the new watersports centre, Sideshore. Fast-forward to 2021, they have been joined by local celebrity chef, Michael Caines, an artist, a patisserie, beach-style café, and second-hand surf wear shop.

A project which started out as a vision to create the most sustainable building possible, to support the local economy, and create a key watersports destination in the UK, has ended up being so much more.

Earlier this year Sideshore achieved an Energy Performance Certification (EPC) ‘A’ which is ground-breaking for a commercial building. In fact, in 2020, only 3% of commercial buildings ever reached an ‘A’ rating.

The building has been fitted with 254 solar panels, a vast ground source heat pump which provides renewable heating and hot water to site, as well as 7 electric vehicle (EV) charge points. In addition, 50% of all car parking revenue is used to fund community projects, such as swimming lessons for local and underprivileged children. By Spring 2022, 95 children would have benefitted from this initiative.

A new ramp was unveiled in July in front of the centre to provide easy, step-free access to the beach below for those with limited ability or watersports equipment.

In addition, tenants have signed “green leases” which includes a ban on single-use plastics and a commitment to join a sustainability committee to set annual goals. 

But perhaps what is most surprising about this development is that it has all been built not-for-profit. Designed and developed by Exeter-business, Grenadier, Sideshore is run by a Community Interest Company (CIC). This CIC is made up of representatives of the local area, and any income generated goes towards repaying the cost of the development funded. Once repaid, Sideshore will be gifted to the community and any future income from rent, parking, events, or energy generation will be reinvested into local community projects.

Aiden Johnson-Hugill, Managing Director, Grenadier, commented: “We want to turn empty, disused spaces into places which benefit the community, and change the way they live. Whether that’s taking a former car park and turning it into a watersports centre, to help encourage people to live healthy, active lives or try a new sport, or create a development where you can help to benefit the local economy.

Exmouth is heavily dependent on tourism, and already Sideshore has provided over 100 local jobs. This is the reason Grenadier do what we do, there’s nothing quite like building something that changes a community for the better.”

Sideshore has always been a passion project for Grenadier, one they reveal has been challenging from time to time, including safely managing construction during a global pandemic.

Aiden continues: “Building next to the ocean can be tricky, but Sideshore is a project which you can’t help but look at and be proud of. As a business we strive to be as sustainable as possible, to challenge ourselves to produce something unique. In turn we are not like other developers, and some of our projects are driven to deliver impact and address the climate emergency.

We may be a small fish in a big pond, but Grenadier are striving to make waves in the South-West, to challenge the industry to do more, to build smarter, and build to support communities and make them healthier, safer, and greener places to live and work.”