Saturday, 20 April 2013

Plans for Port Royal: who owns what: Drill Hall

The District Council has secured ownership of the Drill Hall building - although there is lack of clarity as to how much was paid: £440k or £600k?

Inspiring residents will secure Drill Hall future
April 19 2013
An open meeting on Tuesday brought together local activists with representatives of FolkWeek and cycling charity Sustrans.
Campaign leader Matt Booth led discussions on how to move forward after the building’s stay of demolition, including reaching a purported £440,000 asking price.
He said the site could make a developer ‘five or 10 million’ pounds, but the cost to the town would be greater than that.
The Drill Hall advocate added that there may be some debate over who owns it, or what the draft Local Plan has in store for Port Royal, but that should not make them falter.
Businessman Richard Eley said the asking price was likely to be £440,000, because that was the price that was previously paid for it, and the people of Sidmouth would get the first chance to buy it, ahead of any developers.

Matt is looking at getting funding from the People’s Lottery and a grant from Europe.
EDDC said last month that it would review the situation in the autumn and decide whether the Drill Hall would be put on the open market.

There is quite a back-story:

A glimpse insie the Drill Hall - taken by campaigners Matt Booth and Kay Bagwell in December
Drill Hall demolition ‘unacceptable’ - News - Sidmouth Herald
Sidmouth Drill Hall proposed demolition - final date for comments - Places - Great War Forum
Shock change of plan for Drill Hall - News - Sidmouth Herald

The Financial Monitoring Report presented to the District Council's Cabinet in August 2011 records:
17 83926 Chamber's Close Sidmouth Drill Hall replacement, 2011/12 = £340k
30 83926 Chamber's Close Sidmouth Drill Hall replacement ATC Funding, 2011/12 = £100k
[ie, a total of £440k as reported above]

Regeneration of Port Royal moves a step closer
Drill Hall, Sidmouth
26 October 2012
THE LATEST tangible step towards a future regeneration of the Port Royal area of Sidmouth was taken this week, when EDDC took over ownership of the Drill Hall.
The Council has invested over £600,000 in providing alternative premises for the Army Cadet Force on a site at Chambers Close in Sidmouth as part of a wider plan to improve the eastern end of the Esplanade.

The following is from the leaflet handed out at the Drill Hall Campaign meeting of 17th April:


In 1895, Mr George G Radford donated a piece of land near the Ham for a new building to be built. This was to be called 'The Drill Hall'. Mr & Mrs R Hatton-Wood of 'Belmont' advanced money for the building work, £1,650. The building was opened on Tuesday 15th October 1895.
There were two inscription tablets, one each side of the entrance.
The left inscription read:
'The site of the hall was presented to the Volunteers of Sidmouth by J. Radford Esq of this town. The foundation stone was laid by Miss Constance Radford, on April 14th 1895'. The opening ceremony was performed by Mrs Kennet-Ware on 15th October 1895.
The right inscription read:
'Volunteer Drill Hall for 'B' Company 3rd V.B.D.R. Sir John H Kenaway Colonel; J. Albert Orchard, Captain 'B' Company; George H Vallance. Fred J Potbury. Lieutenants 'B' Company. James Jerman (Exeter) F.R.I.A. Honorary Architect R. Tucker & Sons (Sidmouth) Contractors. Cost £1,300'.
Many of the above names are still well known in the town now.


The Drill Hall has in turn been used as a cinema, a site for sports including badminton and ice skating, a dance hall, a live music venue, and the on site office of the Sidmouth Folk Festival.
At a meeting of East Devon District Council's cabinet in November 2011, council members approved a motion that the building be demolished and a car park built on the vacant site.
The cabinet allocated a budget of £48,038 to demolish the building.
Following campaigning by a local group in Sidmouth EDDC recently removed their application to demolish the building, and have given that group 6 months to provide an alternative use for the building that can be
put to the people of Sidmouth.
In the South West alone, a number of Drill Halls have been saved and regenerated as buildings for community use.
The local Sidmouth group used the Localism Act to force EDDC to remove the demolition application.
The Localism Act (passed by Parliament as law in April 2012) requires local authorities to maintain a list of assets of community value which have been nominated by the local community. When listed assets come up for sale or change of ownership, the Act then gives community groups the time to develop a bid and raise the money to bid to buy the asset when it comes on the open market. This will help local communities keep much-loved sites in public use and part of local life.

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