If the Port Royal area is to be 'developed', the questions of
> What is the exact area under consideration? &
> Who owns or controls which parts? ...
will need to be addressed.
These was considered by the Port Royal Steering Group in 2012, in its Community Engagement Brief for the Regeneration of Sidmouth Eastern Town:
8.0 Land Use & Ownership
In October 2009 EDDC Executive did not precisely define the area to be considered, but PRSG agreed that it should include the following:
• The foreshore to the east of Trinity Court and west of the River Sid
• The Esplanade and the road and turning circle behind it, east of Trinity Court.
• The East and West Ham Lane car parks
• The Swimming Pool
• The Ham, including the Wearfield ‘Boat Park’ beside Riverside, the Play park opposite Glenisla Terrace, the riverside walkway and the Ham Green and sewage works.
• Ham Lane. East Street and York Street (south) connecting Ham Lane to Fore Street
• The buildings between Ham Lane and the turning circle, including
o the Lifeboat Station,
o the Port Royal Club,
o the Drill Hall,
o the public toilets
o the SWW electricity sub-station and
o Bagwells wet fish shop
In all, the site extends to two hectares and is administered by three public bodies, subject to a number of leases, and covenants.
The site is bordered to the east by the River Sid, to the north by residential areas, almost all of which are 19th century terraced cottages, to the south by the sea, and to the west by the commercial buildings of Fore Street, and the mix of hotels and private residences, mostly flats, that front the Esplanade.
The site is currently all in public ownership, administered by three landowners:
• East Devon District Council
• Sidmouth Town Council
• Devon County Council (highways)
8.1 East Devon District Council controls a large proportion of the potential development site:
• The Ham Lane West and Ham Lane East Car Parks (1 & 2) which provide 266 spaces within easy reach of the seafront and town centre. The car park was acquired by way of several small transactions and the legal title refers to the loss of original documents. It is believed that some transfers contained restrictive covenants; however it is unlikely any could enforced.
• The Swimming Pool (3) is a well used facility managed by Leisure East Devon (LED) that is also home to the STC’s local tourist information centre.
• The Lifeboat Station (4) provides 82 square metres of internal space, held by trustees of Sidmouth Lifeboat Station on a lease with 13 years remaining. The lifeboat station provides a valuable service and the trustees have indicated they can envisage no alternative sites from which they could operate. Any development is therefore likely to include provision for a lifeboat station.
• The Clubhouse and Dinghy Park (5) consists of a 721 square metre site and clubhouse providing 437 square metres of internal space for the Sidmouth Sailing and Sea Angling Club who hold a lease with 14 years remaining. Any development should provide boat storage and improved facilities for use by the club.
• Public Conveniences (6) occupy a 107 square metre building managed by EDDC.
• Foreshore, piers and rock groynes
• The Drill Hall (9) for which EDDC recently concluded lengthy negotiations for a land and building swap to acquire the site from TAVRA in 2011.
8.2 Sidmouth Town Council (STC) are trustees for the Ham recreation ground (gifted to the town in 1896 and held by the Radford Trust). Documents attached as Appendix 4.
This recreational open space currently comprises:
• Commercial Fishing Units (7) held on annual licences by local fishermen. These provide 141 square metres of internal space.
• Children’s Play Area and Playing Fields (8) provide 1.35 acres of open space and are subject to restrictive covenants allowing the site to be used only for community benefit.
• Wearfield, north of area (8), previously a paddling pool and boat storage area, now largely disused and partially occupied by an abandoned SWW macerating station housed in a stone shed. It is increasingly used as an unauthorised but not illegal parking space for several vehicles.
8.3 Devon County Council (DCC) administers the public highways and public footpaths –
• the Esplanade, Ham Lane, York Street, East Street