Friday, 23 May 2014

Plans for Port Royal: the "real facts" about the Drill Hall: part two

Following on from the 'debate' in the letters pages of the Herald:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: the "real facts" about the Drill Hall
there has been more exchange of viewpoints and clarification of the issues:

Drill Hall matter needs resolving

Saturday, May 17, 2014

In my letter of May 2, I aimed to defend myself and colleagues against the claim by Chris Gibbings that we were an ‘unrealistic group’ that had given ‘the EDDC an excuse to do nothing’ with the Port Royal area.

It is unfortunate, as I in fact agreed with most of the rest of Chris Gibbings’s letter.

I am a citizen of East Devon, not a council leader.

The letters page of the Herald is one of the only opportunities that myself and others have to air our views.

Perhaps soon the only opportunity when EDDC reduce options for the public to attend hearings on major developments.

Should I be flattered or just appalled that two council leaders should show such complacent disregard for their responsibilities as representatives by taking up an issue with a member of the public in the letters page of the Herald without attempt to make contact first, and then make accusations of being strident, antagonistic and of kicking off a debate in the papers while themselves doing exactly that.

It shows all the disingenuous manipulation of a couple of playground bullies, rather than the actions of respected councillors.

Perhaps they might now start using the letters page to congratulate those members of the public that work hard at their own expense to improve the tourist offer of Sidmouth on their behalf?

There is neither room nor will here to point out the flaws in their letter, but two things:

Firstly, I did meet on August 6, 2013, with the EDDC leader, chief executive and his deputy, where I presented them with a proposal for a staged redevelopment of the Drill Hall that would work with EDDC.

I will very happily publish every bit of the so-called ‘dialogue’ before and since that meeting, including Cllr Diviani’s far from amenable two-word response to an invitation to the EU TourFish conference in June.

Secondly, would EDDC please just show everyone their masterplan for the Port Royal area? That was all we asked at the start of 2012, and again only they can stop people ‘chasing hares’ if they actually revealed their plans for the area, and named the developer.

Or, if neither do exist, then maybe they can drop assertions that I stopped such a development from happening, which really is as utterly ridiculous as it sounds.

The Drill Hall has remained boarded up since 1994, and will remain so for another 20 years or more as long as EDDC continues to maintain the myth of the ever imminent redevelopment of Port Royal.

Convenient as it might be for EDDC and a select few to keep everyone believing that, but it shows only contempt for all others.

I would as ever welcome a meeting. I am still awaiting a reply from the deputy chief executive to my last email of December 20, 2013, requesting precisely that.

Matt Booth

Drill Hall matter needs resolving - Letters - Sidmouth Herald

The Drill Hall campaign pages relate some of the history of the building and site:


Exterior view_01 New_Exterior_View_02s
‘The Territorial Drill Hall, at the Salcombe end of the Esplanade, erected in 1895 on a site given by the late J. George G. Radford, is a neat edifice of red brick, and has on the ground floor a drill hall, 60 by 32 feet, with a clock over the entrance; the building also includes an ante-room, and an armoury.’ (Kelly, 1914)
The land was donated to the town by Mr George G Radford and Mr and Mrs R Hatton-Wood of ‘Belmont’ advanced money for the building work, £1,650. The building was opened on Tuesday 15th October 1895.
In October 1903, Mr and Mrs Hatton-Wood presented the deeds to the Rifle Volunteer Company, which had been formed in 1883, wiping out the remaining construction bill of £600.
Throughout the 1900’s the Drill Hall was used as a cinema, a site for sports including badminton and ice skating, a dance hall, a live music venue, and the on site office of the Sidmouth Folk Festival.
The Drill Hall was closed in 1994 and has been boarded up since.
At a meeting of East Devon District Council’s cabinet in November 2011, council members approved a motion that the building be demolished and a car park built on the vacant site.
The cabinet allocated a budget of £48,038 to demolish the building.
A local campaign group was formed and in March 2012, EDDC removed their application to demolish the building.
In the South West alone, a number of Drill Halls have been saved and regenerated as buildings for community use.
This is the website of the Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub CIC.
Architect's Drawing of a Renovated Drill Hall Interior (c) Alex Vick
Architect’s Drawing of a Renovated Drill Hall Interior (c) Alex Vick
sidmouthdrillhall | Save Sidmouth Drill Hall Campaign

See also from the Herald:
Sea Fest is a splash hit! - News - Sidmouth Herald
Latest Drill Hall vision revealed - News - Sidmouth Herald

No comments: