Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultants' report presented to Reference Group
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultants' report presented to Reference Group > press release
They met again earlier this month:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultants' final report to be presented to Reference Group >>> Thursday 5th October
The meetings have been about looking at the consultants' report following their consultations.
This is the preliminary look at the results, available on the District Council's website:
Port Royal in Sidmouth – consultation update
Sidmouth Town Council and East Devon District Council recently commissioned, as a first step, a scoping study to understand the key opportunities and constraints for possible improvements to Port Royal.
A five-week consultation was then held over the summer and almost 250 responses were received from individuals and organisations. Additionally, a Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group survey, which included questions about Port Royal, was completed by more than 1,800 households and these responses are being included in the overall consultation.
The responses from both consultations have been discussed by the Port Royal Reference Group, which is made up of representatives of Sidmouth town organisations including the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan Group, the Sid Vale Association, Sidmouth Vision Group and the Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce along with Sidmouth Town, East Devon District and Devon County Councils.
The next stage is for the full findings of the independent Port Royal Scoping Study to go before the Reference Group in October. A report and the scoping study findings will then be considered by both councils in November so that councillors from both authorities can determine how to proceed.
More information has now been released.
These are the notes from the reference group's meeting this month, made available today:
SIDMOUTH TOWN COUNCIL
Notes of the meeting of the Port Royal Scoping Study Reference Group held at Council Chamber, Woolcombe House, Woolcombe Lane, Sidmouth, on Thursday 5 October 2017
Cllr. Jeff Turner (Chairman)
Cllr. Ian Barlow, STC
Cllr. David Barratt, EDDC
Graham Cooper, Sidmouth Vision Group
Deidre Hounsom, Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan
Richard Thurlow, Sid Vale Association
Mel Gater, Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce Cllr.
Paul Wright, STC
Christopher Holland, Town Clerk, STC
Richard Cohen, Deputy Chief Executive, EDDC
Alison Hayward, Regeneration & Economic Development, EDDC
Ed Heynes, Heynes Planning Ltd.
Jonathan Andrew, Groupwest Ltd.
Alison Stoneman, Communications Officer EDDC
Karen Jenkins, Strategic Lead - Organisational Development and Transformation EDDC
Apologies: Dave Bramley, Alan Darrant, Cllr. Stuart Hughes,
The meeting started at 6.30 pm and finished at 8.35pm
Councillor Jeff Turner welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked Councillor David Barratt for standing in as Chairman in his absence at the last meeting.
2 Notes of the last meeting
The notes of the meeting of the Reference Group held on 21 September 2017 were acknowledged. Cllr Paul Wright asked that his remark that Councillors should have been involved in the drafting of the questionnaire for the Scoping Study consultation carried out by the Councils and his request that if legally possible, the raw data of the results be published, is recorded.
3 Draft Scoping Study document
The Chairman thanked Ed Heynes and Jonathan Andrew, consultants for attending the meeting and supplying the first draft of their Scoping Study. He reminded the Reference Group that their organisations had been given a chance to comment on the early draft of the report and asked for each representative give their comments which the consultations would take away before they produced their final report.
Points and observations regarding the report are summarised below:
• It is acknowledged the that report does not recommend any one scheme or design for development and this was welcomed. It could still stress even more that there is still a ‘blank canvass’ and that as yet, no design work has been decided on or undertaken.
• It is not clear if underground car parking has been considered or included in the research done for the report – it was explained that this would potentially come at a later design stage.
• There is no mention of the potential size of residential units - it was explained that this would potentially come at a later design stage.
• Developing on flood zone areas is mentioned as something that would require further investigation (sequential testing). Why does this not apply to the allocated Local Plan site? – it was explained that National Planning Policy does not require a site already allocated in the Local Plan to be subjected to sequential testing.
• The report outlines ‘significant opportunities for development’
• Report briefly covers including building over the car parks (whilst retaining parking underneath) which would help to keep the overall heights low. However, this would be subject to sequential testing. The could be emphasised more to make it clearer to the reader.
• The Chamber of Commerce and businesses would be strongly against the idea of losing carparking but acknowledges that buildings with parking underneath may be possible.
• Restricting the overall height of any development and the potential inclusion of affordable housing has been a theme of responses to the Neighbourhood Plan and other consultations. It was acknowledged that achieving this on the site available would be difficult and unlikely to financially viable. This could be more clearly acknowledged in the report.
• The idea of a ‘destination’ development to contribute tourism could be emphasised more.
• Though there is mention of the Ham as being protected by a covenant, the report does not explore this further – It was explained that this would be subject to a further piece of work if desired by the Councils but could be mentioned more in the report with clearer advice on what could be done next
• It was noted that the purchase of the Drill Hall by East Devon District Council was subject to overage and that this had been taken into account when examining feasibility and viability.
• The mention of the purchase of the Drill Hall by East Devon District Council and their right to redevelop if they wished, should be made clearer to the reader
• It would have been useful to include other differing examples/options of more ambitious viable development if possible.
• Some of the Group were disappointed that the report didn’t consider the possibility of using the other car parks for development to help subsidise having just commercial/community uses on EDO3 site
• The overall structure and tone of the report and appendices could be clearer for the reader. Recommendations are not easily referenced. An Executive Summary should be considered.
• Viability has been calculated using the land value, the desirability of the location and interest of potential developers, potential commercial returns and the expectation of a high-quality build and necessary public facilities (Lifeboat house, sailing club and multi use community building including toilets).
• Inclusion of ‘public toilets’ in the multi use community building could be clearer and emphasised more.
The Chairman thanked the various representatives for their comments and suggestions. They discussed the next stages of the project. They acknowledged that the function of the Reference Group to help advise and support the Councils in producing a draft report was complete and that the Consultants should take back the comments to consider before publishing their final report. It was agreed that when the report was finalised and submitted to the Councils that it would be sent to the Reference Group organisations as well as being published online.
4 Communications Update
Reference Group Members agreed that a press release following the meeting would be circulated to the group prior to publishing.
Port Royal Regeneration - Sidmouth Town Council
Notes of the meeting of the Port Royal Scoping Study Reference Group- 5 October 2017
And this is the press release put out today:
Report will now be refined to reflect comments made at meetingThe Port Royal Reference Group met on Thursday 5 October to discuss the draft Scoping Study Report as presented by Heynes Planning Ltd and Groupwest.
The purpose of the Scoping Study Report, which has been commissioned by the Town and District councils as key landowners, is to outline at an early stage the opportunities and constraints that exist for renewal of the Port Royal area of Sidmouth.
There was a robust and frank debate and the Reference Group members clearly reflected the strength of Sidmouth public opinion -expressed through the public consultation and the recent Neighbourhood Plan report - that a single large and high building covering the sea front footprint at Port Royal would be entirely inappropriate for this sensitive site. There was a strongly held view that commercial benefits could be achieved whilst still meeting community aspirations as well as realising benefits for Sidmouth’s economy and tourism. Further options needed to be examined.
Having heard the debate and views of the Reference Group in connection with the draft, the consultant has requested further time to refine the study report and in particular to detail recommendations about further investigations in respect of flooding and covenants. The final report will be considered by the councils jointly at which time it will be made public.
Given the request from the consultant, the report will not meet November council meeting deadlines, but it is expected that this will come forward early in the new year.
Councillor Jeff Turner, chairman of the Reference Group, thanked the members of the group and their respective organisations for their participation and similarly thanked those members of the public who had provided feedback through both the Scoping Study consultation and the Neighbourhood Plan.
Cllr Turner said:
It is the intention of the two councils to debate the independent consultant’s report once the final version has been received. The report will also be published on the councils’ websites. The Scoping Study project group, comprising elected members and officers of the two councils, will discuss options for further work in due course and make recommendations to the councils. Decisions on next steps are unlikely to be considered before the new year.