Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Knowle relocation project: How have PegasusLife been allowed to use the public car park and meadow for 'storage space' and what exactly does the promise of a 'bigger and better car park' once work is finished mean?

The Herald reported earlier in the month that developments at Knowle would mean a longer wait for a flood alleviation scheme for the town: 
Exclusive: Knowle car park discussions between EDDC and PegasusLife set to delay £750k flood plans | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

This is because the developer has said they'll need access to more surface area for their plant during demolition and construction on the site. But not everyone was happy with the decision:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: developer's use of car park a ‘slap in the face’

However, PegasusLife's own Construction Phasing Strategy shows they were happy to complete the development without using the off-site car park and meadow:

3.2: Vehicle Movements within the Site:

3.2.4: The construction phasing does not have any significant bearing on both accesses to the site, nor on-site vehicle movements as the project progresses. The project should be able to accommodate safe access/egress and on-site movement throughout the programme of works.

The site has a clear delineation - as Phase One in the same document shows - which does not include the public car park used for park-and-walk or the meadows by the southern entrance:

Moreover, at point 8.7 in their Planning, design and access statement PegasusLife have clearly shown they have no intention of destroying the meadow because they want to because they want to work with the Arboretum to plant trees there:
Planning, design and access statement ... PegasusLife | Knowle Sidmouth | March 2016 

Meanwhile, the District Council's leadership has sought to reassure the town about any temporary loss of carparking - but it is not clear how Sidmouth will be getting a 'bigger and better' car park at Knowle - again, without building on the meadow land of the park:

Sidmouth to get ‘bigger and better’ car park after Knowle development, says council

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 December 2018

Clarissa Place

Knowle council offices car park. Picture: Alex Walton

Sidmouth will have a ‘bigger and better’ town centre car park once works have finished at Knowle. Those are the words of district council bosses in response to a story the Herald ran last week regarding developers’ use of the lower car park as storage space during the construction of a to 113-home retirement community.

Fears were raised that a £759,000 flood prevention scheme, which protects town centre homes, would have to be postponed until works were finished - which could take up to three years. Concerns were raised for the impact on the town’s economy while the car park was temporarily shut.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) is in discussion with the developers PegasusLife and Sidmouth Town Council (STC) about the use of the ‘park and walk’ service if it was temporarily closed.

EDDC leader Councillor Ian Thomas said it was likely the authority will be letting the developer use the land as it would mean the town could get a bigger car park. He added that this meant it would keep construction vehicles away from ‘impractical routes’ and should not disrupt everyday traffic using Broadway and Knowle Drive.

Cllr Thomas said: “This will help alleviate congestion in the town and encourage more visitors to Sidmouth and to the Knowle Park itself. We appreciate that this will mean that the current car park which is available to the public at weekends will not be available during the construction period. However, that will mean a bigger and better public car park open every day in the future, which is what the town council wants for Sidmouth.”

Devon County Councillor Stuart Hughes he felt there was an all-round appreciation for what everyone was trying to achieve.

Cllr Hughes said: “This is excellent news and will be welcomed by all concerned especially those whose properties could have been inundated with flood water should there be a severe weather event. All going well, we should remain on schedule.”

County officers are now waiting for confirmation from the Environment Agency to secure the funding for flood works. EDDC has offered the remaining parkland to STC after works have finished to reinstate and extend the car park - making it an ‘even more important asset to the town’.

Sidmouth to get ‘bigger and better’ car park after Knowle development, says council | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

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