Friday, 14 March 2014

Public Examination of the New East Devon Local Plan ..... ..... SIDMOUTH: reports from 11th March

Following on from the second session looking at Sidmouth
Futures Forum: Public Examination of the New East Devon Local Plan ... Sidmouth: the issues for Tuesday 11th March
here are the reports from SIN and SOS:

Sidmouth – Local Plan hearing day 2 – snippets


‘Sidmouth Day 2:

Reason for Knowle sale “only to fund new offices”, said Sidmouth town councillor, David Addis. 
Evidence lacking to justify change of use from employment land (EDDC HQ is Sidmouth’s biggest employer), to residential.
A 5-hectare employment site at Sidford is “merely a speculative planning proposal”, Inspector told. No proven need for it. ’

Sidmouth – Local Plan hearing day 2 – snippets | Sidmouth Independent News

Sidmouth – Local Plan, day 2 – more snippets


Knowle: Objections raised over change of use/loss of employment to Sidmouth & East Devon; to loss of Council Chambers as community assets; to damage to park/loss of garden-lawn prospect (Inspector called this “curtilage”)/garden depot; to loss of 232 parking spaces for visitors; to threat
to wildlife (horseshoe bats, badgers, dormice); to traffic hazards…It was suggested that a mixed employment site at Knowle would cater for many of businesses proposed for Sidford site.

Port Royal: Little discussion/no details. 30 houses likely to be luxury flats/second homes. Concerns expressed over proximity of sewage station, loss of drill hall and possibly of sailing club.

Persimmon’s proposal for 152 houses on AONB at Woolbrook: Agent argued that Sidmouth “needed” 300 houses, not 150, that Persimmon would pay for a roundabout on A3052 and a 100-space park-and-leave facility (this either with hopper bus or based on notion that visitors would arrange to arrive in two cars and leave one there!). The development would be behind hedges and had support of Sidmouth Town Council (Inspector said country “needed” more housing).

Boutique hotel-cum-cookery school on AONB at Fortescue: Richard Eley’s proposal based on fact that Sidmouth was a tourist town and had lost several hotels recently to housing (Inspector suggested that Knowle might be a better site for this hotel!).

Sidmouth – Local Plan, day 2 – more snippets | Sidmouth Independent News

Knowle evidence at Inspector’s disposal is inadequate, says SOS legal representative
March 12, 2014

Inspector Anthony Thickett, himself a chartered town planner, yesterday continued the Examination in Public of EDDC’s Local Plan, with the second half of the Sidmouth hearing.
He heard representations on Questions 2c and 3,which were:

2c Are the proposed allocations suitable for the development for which they are proposed?
The Knowle,Port Royal,Manstone depot residential allocations
-loss of employment
-impact on the character and appearance of the area

3. Does Sidmouth have the infrastructure to support the level of new development envisaged in the Local Plan?

Two additional representations were also discussed, namely:
-Persimmon Homes (SW), proposing allocation of land for housing at Woolbrook Road
-Mr R. Eley proposing the allocation of land east of Fortescue Rd for hotel use

Regarding 2c
Representations regarding the Knowle were wide-ranging, as expected. Charlie Hopkins, speaking for Save Our Sidmouth, pointed out that EDDC refused to let even the Inspector see the valuation report on the Knowle, on the grounds of ‘commercial confidentiality’. “The only evidence you have got”, he told Mr Thickett, “is four pages from the Lister report”.

Chair of Knowle Residents’ Association (KRA), Kelvin Dent, cited the loss of 121 office HQ jobs from Sidmouth, as not conforming to Strategy 32 as it stands at the moment. Relocation of the Council’s maintenance department currently at Knowle, could mean an additional loss of manual jobs to the town, he said, and would result in a greater expense of sending staff in from elsewhere, for example, Honiton. The large scale residential development proposed would create access problems, he continued, as had been clearly indicated when EDDC’s earlier Knowle planning application had failed.

His fellow town councillors, David Addis and Ian Barlow , both argued that the sale of the Knowle site was only to fund new EDDC offices.”Knowle should be left well alone”, said Mr Barlow.

Julia Harbour, of KRA, drew attention to the unsuitability of the site for development due to the wildlife, particularly roosting bats in the building and an active badger sett.

This report will be continued shortly.

Knowle evidence at Inspector’s disposal is inadequate, says SOS legal representative | Save Our Sidmouth 

The Inspector's final report will be published within the next two weeks:
http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/planning_inspector_will_report_back_on_eddc_local_plan_by_end_of_march .

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