Saturday, 3 March 2018

Plans for Port Royal: "What were all these plans, meetings and consultations actually FOR?"

Oh dear, is that it then...

A month ago, we got to see the consultants' plans for Eastern Town:
Revealed: Consultants’ conclusions on Port Royal | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

But all of that was swept away for something decidedly less ambitious:
Sidmouth seafront flats plan set to be axed for new restaurant and bar instead - Devon Live

Because apparently everyone wants a Nando's:

People want quality restaurants and bars for Sidmouth seafront site (including a Nando's) - Devon Live
High quality restaurant and a bar plan for Sidmouth seafront site - and improvements around The Ham to follow - Devon Live

This seems to be what happens with 'regeneration'... 
... we get either something nobody wants or nothing at all:

So, we must ask ourselves: what were all these plans, meetings and consultations actually FOR? What we are ending up with on both sites is nothing like what was initially planned, or discussed or consulted on.

Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipatimg a Regeneration Board
“Regeneration plans and meetings” – are they worth the effort | East Devon Watch

And a huge amount of time, money, effort and commitment went into the promises of a 'regeneration project' - at the admission of the District Council from their rather out-of-date pages: 

Port Royal in Sidmouth – consultation update

Consultation Results

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. The anonymised raw data from this questionnaire is available to view together with the key for the codes that appear in the raw data.  

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.

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.

Port Royal Consultation - East Devon

And that was... the 'regeneration project in Sidmouth':
Regeneration projects in Sidmouth - East Devon

And so our local MP's 'vision' for Eastern Town has been dismissed:
Bring in Prince Charles’ design team for community-led Port Royal regeneration, says MP | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald
‘Modest’ approach to Port Royal means Prince of Wales’ design team won’t be used | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

As have all sorts of other visionary prospects for the area:
Turner Architects' pier wins Sidmouth ideas contest | News | Architects Journal
Here's what Sidmouth seafront could end up looking like - Devon Live
1,800-signature petition backing ‘alternative’ vision for Port Royal handed to Sidmouth Town Council | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

What a shame:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: "Sidmouth has waited long enough to see something happen on this site"

But maybe there can be some 'vision' after all...
Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan – Shaping our Future Together
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: VGS and PRSG

To finish, a bit of a rallying cry:

We must not let others decide for us, we must not let standard corporate practice overwhelm the individuality of our town however easy or expedient that route may be. 
Our town attracts tourists because it offers an experience almost lost in other places. 
If we lose that character then we just become one of many similar holiday choices and tourism will suffer as a result. 
If tourism suffers then we all suffer.

Port Royal thoughts - Sidmouth Drill Hall Rescue

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