Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Vision Group for Sidmouth: a short history... and looking to the future...

As part of the VGS AGM coming up next week, an overview of what each 'action group' has been up to will be presented: 
Futures Forum: "What next for Sidmouth?"... "responding to the town council's challenge to residents"... at the Vision Group AGM ... Weds 18th June

This is an extended piece from the report to be given by the Futures Forum:

There have been calls by councillors and others to help put together ideas for housing, employment land and other such areas of strategic planning.
This would not only involve contributing to the District Council’s own process of further consultation on the draft Local Plan, but would also mean helping Sidmouth develop its own town/neighbourhood plan.
The Vision Group for Sidmouth has some history of involvement in this. 
It was set up in 2005 by the Town Council and SVA to “commend the residents' vision to the Local Development Framework” – and ever since it has  sought to play an active and positive role in consultations on the Local Plan process.
In parallel, the Vision Group has been involved in attempts to create a town/neighbourhood plan.
A report was compiled by the VGS in 2006:
Vision Group for Sidmouth - Original Vision Group Report 

This was condensed into a set of proposals for a town plan and in 2009 the Vision Group met up with Town Councillors to consider these:

Sidmouth town plan talks - News - Sidmouth Herald 

However, the Town Council felt by 2010 that these proposals were out-of-date:

The Working Party appointed by the Town Council consisting of Chairman and Vice Chairman of Council, Chairman and Vice Chairman of Planning and Chairman and Vice Chairman of Tourism met to consider the Vision Group’s amended version of the Town Plan for Sidmouth.
The Working Party’s recommendation to Council was as follows:-
The Town Council is unable to endorse the Vision Group’s 2006 (amended) Town Plan, but commend the Group for the effort and work undertaken in the production of this document. It should be acknowledged that many of the objectives identified have already been achieved by others. Events have superseded this document with regard to many issues.
The Town Council acknowledge that two main issues are still relevant e.g. Port Royal Development and the threat to Salcombe Cliffs. 
RESOLVED: That this be noted and agreed.

www.sidmouth.gov.uk/PDFs/STC Minutes 2009-10/stcapr122010.pdf

The issue of a Town Plan has been brought up regularly at the Annual Town Assembly:

The possibility of Sidmouth having its own town plan was also discussed.
The Vision Group for Sidmouth has long pressed for an integrated plan, with particular concern about the flood risk to the eastern end of town.
Councillor Sullivan said that he’d be glad to discuss this issue, and a general disaster emergency plan, after the introduction of the new Localism Bill, with its promised new freedom for local government bodies. Once this bill has been passed, he said: “East Devon District Council would have to discuss Sidmouth’s future development plans with the town council, so we (the town) can decide what we want.”

View From Online - News from West Dorset, East Devon & South Somerset
www.sidmouth.gov.uk/PDFs/Annual Reports/2011TownMeetingAgenda.pdf

The current framework under the Localism Bill is for a Neighbourhood Plan...

The county's oldest civic group, the SVA, would like to be involved in neighbourhood planning:

We are taking advantage of the new ‘Localism Bill’ to encourage The Town Council to promote a ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ for The Sid Valley. We are doing this in conjunction with other groups in the community.

Sid Vale Association - Conservation and Planning

The Save Our Sidmouth campaign would like to be proactive:

We also wish, in the longer term, to encourage and assist Sidmouth Town Council (STC) to prepare a “Neighbourhood Plan”.

Our Campaign | Save Our Sidmouth

The Town Council has shown interest in neighbourhood planning:

At a recent meeting of the Town Council’s Planning Committee it was suggested that the Council might wish to produce a Neighbourhood Plan at some time in the future.

The Local Plan and continuing debate over the relocation of East Devon District Council and working with other groups and organisations on looking at a Neighbourhood Plan for the town will feature in 2013.

Chairman of Sidmouth Town Council, Cllr Stuart Hughes | Exeter Express and Echo

The District Council has recently looked at an application by Broadclyst

- although it has sought to limit the remit of the Neighbourhood Area:


Finally, the Deputy CEO addressed the Town Council in March 2012 on several issues - including neighbourhood planning - but placed question marks on the viability of the project:

c) Neighbourhood Plans in East Devon.
§ Government is advising Parishes and Towns that they can draw up plans but it will cost between £30,000 - £40,000 There is no funding available from EDDC.
§ Neighbourhood plans had to conform to Local Plans. There would be a requirement to wait until the East Devon Local Plan had been agreed before starting a project.
Resources needed for drawing up of plans were substantial.

Over a year ago, Futures Forum held a meeting to consider putting together a Neighbourhood Plan:
Futures Forum: Neighbourhood Plans
Vision Group for Sidmouth - Neighbourhood Plan sustainable development 

See also: 

Town/neighbourhood planning:
Built environment | Design Council
Councils must acknowledge community voice, says Living Streets | Living Streets
Local Plan - VGS submissions:
Port Royal:
Sidmouth residents’ ideas for Port Royal regeneration - News - Sidmouth Herald

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