Sunday, 21 October 2018

Sidford business park > Other sites are available

The latest application for an industrial site on AONB land north of Sidford has been rejected:
Futures Forum: Sidford business park > Fords planning application >>> 18/1094/MOUT >>> REFUSED: but only on grounds of 'highway safety'

However, the District Council has made it very clear that the notion still stands:

The site is allocated in the adopted East Devon Local Plan and is acceptable in principle

16 October 2018 - Sidford employment site outline planning application refused on highway safety grounds - East Devon

Even though it has been made very clear that this particular allocation of employment land was included in the Local Plan by very dubious means, to say the least:
Futures Forum: Sidford business park > "The Local Plan is a deeply flawed document."
Futures Forum: Sidford business park >>> and the East Devon Business Forum revisited

Furthermore, it is also very clear that this particular site is in the wrong place:
Futures Forum: Sidford business park >>> "there is sufficient evidence that the site is unsuitable"
Futures Forum: VGS comment on Fords planning application 18/1094/MOUT >>> "there is no proven need for this particular business park"
Futures Forum: Ford's @ Sidmouth & Sidford >>> of supermarkets and traffic congestion
Futures Forum: Sidford business park >>> “Sidmouth’s outstanding natural environment is a key asset - and conservation, enhancement and sensitive management of the landscape, heritage and wildlife of the area is critical.”

Besides, this is by no means the best, let alone the only, site available in the Sid Valley.

There is the obvious Alexandria Industrial Estate, also highlighted in the Local Plan:
Futures Forum: Sidford business park > And Alexandria Industrial Estate: "a satisfactory solution could be reached" to the issue of access
Futures Forum: Sidford Business Park > "the need for the development has not been proven, with the existing employment site at Alexandria Road still having capacity."

Because what we need are much more smaller-scale pieces of employment land:
Futures Forum: "We are desperately short of small-scale employment sites across East Devon"

And the Sid Valley does in fact have such sites available:
Futures Forum: Alternatives to the Sidford business park

As shown in the letters pages of the Herald by Graham Cooper, who has provided a thoroughly researched indication of how things really stand in the Sid Valley:

Here is the full piece, courtesy of the author:

Employment Sites in the Sid Valley

In respect to employment land within the Sid Valley, there are numerous existing sites available for development for offices or for industrial purposes without resorting to building on prime agricultural land as is proposed for Sidford. In addition, there are the constraints of the local roads which are incapable of taking the additional traffic that would be generated. It is clear there is no economic evidence requiring speculative building on the proposed Sidford site and rather than concentrating substantial development on AONB land it is far better to spread any required building across the various brownfield sites available in the valley.

From the Neighbourhood Plan survey* (see below), the majority of responders believe more can be achieved by refiguring the Alexandria Industrial Estate to make more effective use of the space, and by introducing an entrance into the area from Bulverton Road. It would also be possible to introduce some extra office accommodation along the “ransom strip” on the old railway line section, between the road and the existing Alexandria site should there be a demand for it.

There is no business case in the foreseeable future for the scale of development proposed in Sidford. For reasons of economic resilience, it would be more applicable to encourage increased commercial use in the centre of Sidmouth. There is very limited requirement for B1 (offices) in the valley but there is plenty of existing space available due to “High Street churn” particularly with the closure of the three bank branches.

The creation of an ugly blot on the picturesque landscape in the form of a large 5 hectare industrial estate at the gateway to the resort is incompatible with a quality tourist destination. It would make far more sense to distribute any commercial requirements across the sites available in the valley thus avoiding the negative impact on the AONB, the unavoidable grid-locking of the existing road network, the air pollution and the high risk of flooding that would inevitably result from such a large development in this inappropriate location.

*In the Second Household Questionnaire of the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan, 90% of responders supported initiatives which improve access and make better use of the Alexandria Industrial Estate.

As indicated on the map there are several potential employment sites available in the valley.

The sites are as follows:

1 Alexandra Road Industrial Estate - With some modifications this remains the prime site for additional accommodation and opportunities as local demand determines.

2 Manstone Lane- EDDC depot. - For modest size workshop spaces

3 Woods Farm – Rural workshops

4 Garden Centre – Potential for office and workshop opportunities

5 Fry’s Lane – Small workshops

6 Laundry Lane Sail Cleaning Unit Sidford – Modest employment land available

7 Trow Hill – Small rural workshops

8 High Street, - The former Coop, Nat West and soon Barclays Bank for use as offices

9 Eastern Town (Port Royal) - Mixed employment development

10 Proposed 5 Hectare (12-acre) Sidford Employment Site

Sites to the north west of Sidmouth have superior connectivity to the A3052 and the M5.

October 2018

Sidmouth and Ottery breaking news and sport - Sidmouth Herald

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