Save Our Sidmouth

Letter to the Herald – 14 September

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14 September

I object to the proposal for outline planning permission at the Knowle.

I am concerned at the proposed irretrievable loss of public amenities, including:

  • Removal of public open space
  • Destruction of a fine example of Regency parkland
  • Removal of unique trees in our civic arboretum
  • Degradation of the initial aspect for those approaching the town
  • Removal of a car-park that can assist the town to become pedestrian-friendly
  • Intensification of traffic congestion in narrow streets around Knowle Drive

But my basic objection is that this proposal is in conflict with the Development Plan, whose provisions are not outweighed by any material considerations.

The applicant needs to provide an Environmental Impact Assessment before outline planning permission can be considered. The Habitats Directive needs to be taken into account. The Economic Impact Assessment is seriously flawed.

The planning authority must respect the law. The proposal has to be rejected on the above grounds.

However there is a demand for increased provision of care facilities from the growing number of elderly and infirm citizens in Sidmouth. Currently the supply problem is for care-workers, who need to be recruited and housed within our community, not for a large building. Sheltered housing integrated with a network of specialist therapeutic care facilities on an appropriate scale is needed rather than a traditional massive warehouse “home”.

We need further social housing in Sidmouth – affordable by and reserved for the workers who maintain and service the town as care-workers, skilled trades, physiotherapists, teachers, nurses, etc. – constructed on genuine brownfield sites in the town.

These alternative proposals for the site may not appeal to EDDC’s traditional development partners but it is important to remember that the task of the planning authority is to plan for the future needs of the community rather than the short-term profits of landowners and developers. Before a replacement outline planning proposal that complies with policy is
submitted, there is time for serious public engagement to establish whether this is what the community really needs.

Yours sincerely

Robert Crick

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