Monday, 3 September 2018

Plans for Port Royal: Town Council to consider the Drill Hall

The selling of the Drill Hall is a District Council affair - as they own it, having bought it:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: and selling the Drill Hall >>> Five years ago, the District Council "invested over £600k in providing alternative premises for the Army Cadet Force"

Questions have been asked at District Council meetings:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: questions raised at full District Council meeting

Especially over the marketing of the site:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal > When will the Drill Hall go on the market?

However, the Town Council are clearly involved, with members of the public asking Councillors at its meeting last month:

Minutes of the Meeting of Sidmouth Town Council held at the Council Chamber, Woolcombe House, Sidmouth, 
on Monday 13 August 2018 at 6.30pm 

Public Open Question Time 

Five members of the public asked questions relating to the process for the sale of East Devon District Council Drill Hall site. 

Responding to the questions, Councillors Turner and Barratt commented that the process being undertaken by EDDC, with the Town Council as consultee, was open and transparent and followed the usual procedure for the sale of a District Council asset including the advertising and selection criteria. 

Sensitive commercial material was only likely to be shared with potential bidders via EDDC’s appointed agent JLL and not separately via the Town Council which was a third party within the process, as this could prejudice potential future bids both community and/or commercial. 

Cllr Cole commented that the draft Neighbourhood Plan included residents’ views regarding Drill Hall re-development, therefore any future planning applications should take notice of the Neighbourhood Plan. 

Cllr Barratt reported that the District Council’s Development Management Committee had already referred to the Emerging Neighbourhood Plan with respect to a recent planning application therefore the Neighbourhood Plan was already in use as a planning tool.

Minutes of the Meeting of Sidmouth Town Council - Monday 13 August 2018

With a full recording of the public Q&A available here 

Several issues arose:

> As ‘owners’ of the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan, the Town Council are clearly a lead player in the future shape of Port Royal:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal > "Community value counts as well as financial. Selling simply to the highest bidder is unlikely to be best for the town - and achieving ‘best value’ can done with a combination of factors."
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: "What were all these plans, meetings and consultations actually FOR?"

> The lead of the community bid asked for the criteria to be used for evaluating bids to be made clear:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: A formal Community Bid comes closer
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: a community bid for the Drill Hall > "Sidmouth Sunrise Drill Hall" campaign looking for help

> A request was made to have the project made available on the STC's own website: 
Home - Sidmouth Town Council

> A request was made for a meeting to discuss the sale of the Drill Hall with the members of the core group (Cllrs Barratt, Dyson and Turner). 

> The promise was made at this meeting for the issues to be considered again at this evening's Town Council meeting: 
Town Council Meetings - Sidmouth Town Council

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