Sunday 27 December 2015

Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >>> ‘Scoping Report for the eastern end of Sidmouth’ to be presented to Cabinet >>> Wednesday 6th January

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the District Council's plans for Exmouth:
Futures Forum: Regenerating Exmouth seafront: "It is good that people air their opinions" >>> 90% reject District Council's plans
Futures Forum: Exmouth regeneration: approving a planning application before concluding the public consultation

There have been secret meetings:
How was Moirai Capital Investments chosen by EDDC for Exmouth Splash? | East Devon Watch

And there have been appearances in court:
What is going on at Queen’s Drive Exmouth? | East Devon Watch

The Exmouth Regeneration Programme Board met at Exmouth Town Hall last month - and will be reporting to Cabinet next month:
Agenda for Cabinet - Wednesday, 6 January 2016 (pages 25-29)

Looking at another item on the agenda for that January meeting, the District Council is quite pleased with itself:

Regeneration and Economic Development Special Item 
- Proposed Budget 2016-17

The Council is adept at using its assets to de-risk locations and attract private sector interest. The delivery of the new Premier Inn in Exmouth and , the commercial success around Exmouth Strand are two examples of where the Council has used its land and property assets to achieve this aim. 

Agenda for Cabinet - Wednesday, 6 January 2016 (pages 107-110)

And there are fears that much of the same might be coming to Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >>> a summary of the issues

The District Council's plans for Sidmouth will be outlined at the Cabinet meeting next month:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >>> ‘Scoping Report for the eastern end of Sidmouth’ to be presented to District Council

As laid out in the agenda for 6th January:

Agenda item: 17 
Subject: Sidmouth – Eastern Town Scoping Study 

Purpose of report: 
The Port Royal vicinity at the eastern end of Sidmouth seafront is an area that does not meet the high standards of visual or amenity quality of the rest of the town. There is general acknowledgement that the area requires development and renewal. In partnership with Sidmouth Town Council and as principal landowner, EDDC is proposing to undertake a scoping exercise to investigate ways forward that can bring about investment and development to renew the area and create a high quality mix of uses.

Cabinet recommendations as follows: 
1. EDDC will work with Sidmouth Town Council to prepare a brief and commission appropriate professional consultancy to scope out the detailed work required and options to fully plan the tasks and process required to achieve the regeneration of Port Royal 
2. To add to the offer of £2,000 from Sidmouth Town Council a sum of up to £8,000 from EDDC’s existing towns regeneration fund 
3. To delegate responsibility to take forward this project to the Deputy Chief Executive in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Development and Partnerships 

Reason for recommendation: 
To respond to a request form Sidmouth Town Council to work in partnership on the renewal of a key location on and behind the town’s seafront. 

Officer: Richard Cohen rcohen@eastdevon.gov.uk ext:1552 

This is a scoping exercise and, as such, will mainly precede detailed 84 planning work and consultation that should address equalities impact issues. This exercise will include consultation with local organisations.

Link to Council Plan: 
This is very much a first stage investigation but with a desire to lead on to a successful renewal of the eastern end of Sidmouth’s seafront. As such the longer term objective will link to all the Council Plan priorities in relation to living in, working in and enjoying East Devon and Sidmouth in particular. A regenerated Port Royal will be a benefit to our residents, visitors, businesses and local work force.

Report in full: 
EDDC will work in partnership with Sidmouth Town Council to commission and manage a scoping exercise for the renewal of the Port Royal area of Sidmouth. It is expected that the work will take no more than two or three months to start and finish. This will not be a major planning exercise at this point in time but a precursor to identify key information such as land ownerships, boundary options and reflect on any previous plans and investigations into the area. Without going into too much detail at this stage (a detailed plan would need to follow) the scoping exercise will want to reflect on technical and sensitivity issues related to the location of Port Royal including design, engineering, environment, flood management and World Heritage Coast concerns. 

The consultants will be expected to propose a forward plan of action to achieve the best quality development outcome. This will include recommendations toward boundary definition, ideas about what Sidmouth would benefit from, a range of options possible for development, market intelligence, the approach to a development plan eg a Masterplan process. We would also expect a timeline and action plan for next steps. Lastly, the consultants would be expected to advise, potentially on a confidential basis, on financial aspects of a renewal scheme for Port Royal. This would include the spend required to take forward a development plan and what would be a potential capital receipt outcome. 

Whilst the question of a boundary will be considered within the scoping exercise it should be reflected that there are a number of existing buildings and uses that will need to be considered: 
 Lifeboat station 
 Sailing club 
 Boat park 
 Drill Hall 
 Public toilets 
 Fish sheds 
 Highways and turning circle 
 Public realm and green space 
 Car parking 
 Leisure centre

Some uses will wish to remain and need to be close to the sea and others are not so important. For example maritime uses such as the lifeboat station and sailing club are important assets to the town and part of the attraction of the seafront. 

Sidmouth Town Council has approved £2,000 toward a scoping exercise. EDDC has existing budget previously approved under town regeneration budget and this report proposes a sum of up to £8,000 bringing a total of £10,000. The District Council is the major landowner in this partnership. Until we have secured bids for the work it is difficult to be exact about the cost of proposals but £10,000 seems a reasonable ceiling to set and with the expectation that a competitive bidding process will secure the best value proposal. 

Subject to Cabinet agreement to EDDC responding favourably to Sidmouth Town Council’s approach, the agreement of Cabinet will give authority to the Deputy Chief Executive in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Development and Partnerships to commence discussions with Sidmouth Town Council and take forward the detailing and delivery of a scoping exercise. The findings of that exercise will be reported back to the two Councils with a view to determining what happens next.

Agenda for Cabinet - Wednesday, 6 January 2016 (pages 84-87)
Jan 6th 2016, Knowle…Cabinet will hear report on Eastern Town Scoping Study for Sidmouth. | Save Our Sidmouth

This issue includes other areas, including Mill Street Car Park', as discussed at Cabinet earlier this month:

*137 Sidmouth Mill Street car park 
Alan Morgenroth, proprietor of Goviers said that car parking in Sidmouth was a significant issue. The lack of town centre parking was creating a problem for customers and staff. Creating a pay and display car park would benefit the whole of Sidmouth. Mr Morgenroth was concerned that the Council had considered developing the site for housing – this would put even more pressure on car parking in the town centre. In response, the Chief Executive gave him reassurances about the foreseeable future. 
The Senior Lead for Environmental Health and Car Parks presented the report on the Mill Street proposals, which gave details of the current position and proposed options. Interim proposals were to offer the spaces for business use over the Christmas period, with income paid through the Council being given to charity. 
RESOLVED: that steps taken to revise the East Devon Parking Places Order and the Council’s inhouse team be tasked with managing the remaining car parking spaces as a public pay and display car park. 
REASON: to enable the quick response to bring the 36 un-let reserved parking spaces in Sidmouth town centre, into use for public pay and display car parking.

Agenda for Cabinet - Wednesday 2 December 2015

It was decided that the issue of Port Royal will be included in the Neighbourhood Planning process:
Futures Forum: Neighbourhood Plan for Sidmouth: report presented to Town Council
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >>> report from Town Council meeting: "an Eastern Town Regeneration Scoping Exercise would act as a module of any forthcoming Neighbourhood Plan."
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >>> report from Town Council meeting: 'the scoping exercise would form a key part of the Neighbourhood Plan'
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >>> report from Town Council meeting: "This scoping exercise can be integrated into the Neighbourhood Plan."

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