Friday, 9 May 2014

Fortfield Hotel ... to ... Sanditon apartments ... to S106 cash

The Town Council is being proactive in making it very clear that any funds coming out of the development of the Fortfield Hotel site should benefit Sidmouth:

When the decision was made that the Fortfield Hotel would be demolished and replaced with an apartment block, Councillors were adamant that any S106 monies developers are obliged to provide should remain in the town:

Sidmouth must ‘fight like hell’ for £1.5 million
FINAL PLANS: An artsist impression of what developer ZeroC hopes will happen at the site of Sidmouth's Fortfield Hotel.
FINAL PLANS: An artsist impression of what developer ZeroC hopes will happen at the site of Sidmouth's Fortfield Hotel.

SIDMOUTH has been urged to ‘fight like hell’ to ensure a £1.5million offer from developers - intent on replacing the Fortfield Hotel with apartments - is spent solely in the town.

Planning authority East Devon District Council (EDDC) has revealed the massive sum will be splashed across the region if controversial proposals are given the go-ahead.

Outgoing district councillor Chris Gibbings has called for all the money to be spent in Sidmouth, and for it to be utilised to redevelop Port Royal. He said: “I’d hate to see that money go anywhere else. As a town, we need to start fighting now. We want it spent in Sidmouth and it’s a fight we can win. It’s up to Sidmouth councillors to fight their corner and fight it hard.”

Would-be Fortfield developer ZeroC has offered the sum to boost tourism, ‘affordable’ housing, schools and public spaces.

The firm’s plans for 31 private apartments in a designated tourism area feature no holiday accommodation or low-cost dwellings.

“I want to keep that money in Sidmouth to redevelop Port Royal, keep the seafront going, and tidy up the East end,” said Mr Gibbings. “We could have a really prestigious development offering employment and tourism elements there. It’s an ideal opportunity.”

Mr Gibbings’ last act as an EDDC Sidmouth Town Ward member was to register his views with the authority.

A council spokesperson said: “We can confirm this (funding) will be spent within East Devon to the benefit of the whole district, including Sidmouth. Speculating about the detail of how the money might be spent is premature as the application would first need to be considered and passed before any final decision was taken.”

Outgoing Sidmouth Town Council chairman and newly-elected district councillor for the town ward, Peter Sullivan, said councillors had to reserve their opinions on the planning application until official talks were held.

In other words, the wishes of Sidmouth Councillors might not be heeded when it comes to distributing any S106 funds - which is being replaced anyway, by a 'more flexible' system:

The old Section 106 payments are now going down the drain, so that source of income is drying up for EDDC and anyway that money had to be spent close to the development itself - CIL can be spent anywhere in the district.

However, it is also not guaranteed that any S106 funds will be paid at all by developers:

Back in February, a third of all the flats at the Sanditon development still remained unsold:

Now in May, there are still eight apartments unsold:



ApartmentBedroomsBathroomsLaundry RoomSize Sqm²FloorViewsPriceAvailabilityCompletionFloorplan
522No107m²1Garden£440,000AvailableOctober 2013Download
622No105m²1Partial£430,000AvailableOctober 2013Download
732No150m²1Garden-ReservedOctober 2013Download
832No143m²1Garden-ReservedOctober 2013Download
1222Yes125m²2Garden-ReservedOctober 2013Download
1622No108m²2Partial£460,000AvailableOctober 2013Download
2122No127m²3Garden£450,000AvailableOctober 2013Download
2322No91m²3Sea£455,000AvailableOctober 2013Download
2422No104m²3Sea£495,000AvailableOctober 2013Download
2832No132m²4Partial£595,000AvailableOctober 2013Download
Please note: all sold properties are removed from the above table

In a piece in the Herald entitled 'Town starts to plan for cash', the terms of payment were made clear:

The money is being paid when the 10th, 20th and 27th householders move into the apartments.

The difficulty is that if the final eight flats are not sold soon, then the developer is not obliged to pay a third of the Section 106 money to the District Council:

Meanwhile, there still appears to be some disquiet about the construction of the Sanditon block, as the comments left here testifies:

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