REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION OF JEREMY WOODWARD, ( VISION GROUP FOR SIDMOUTH/ SOS):
Dear SAVE Britain’s Heritage,
You are aware of the attempts by East Devon District Council to pull down Sidmouth’s largest Victorian hotel, Knowle: you submitted a very powerful objection to their Outline Planning Application.
Meanwhile, EDDC have put together a new OPA and have extended the consultation period: http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/communications_and_consultation.htm?newsid=722
I have been in touch with English Heritage, to whom I sent the application to List the building and grounds: I attach my original notes which accompanied the application.
This was subsequently rejected and I have since lodged an appeal, to both EH and the DCMS: I also attach this.
I asked EH for the correspondence between it and EDDC prior to the rejection of the listing application, which I have only just received. I would be grateful for any comments from SAVE with regard to the documents which I received from EH today and which I attach:
> 34821 Knowle Hotel. The 1947/50 Listing is not very specific. No notes are extant from this period apparently.
> Knowle e-mails. Page 7 reveals that current EDDC officer Claire Rodway in fact completed a dissertation on the Knowle Hotel, but that this has been deleted, together with any potentially significant information about the building.
> Photographs from East Devon. Whilst the camera never lies, the choice of some rather ugly pictures of corridors and messy corners is not very convincing; moreover, these were taken by EDDC officers whose perspective cannot be taken as impartial.
In the meantime, this case has generated enormous controversy. Private Eye has featured Knowle in its Nooks and Corners column, which I attach. This week the Daily Telegraph featured the larger Save Our Sidmouth campaign, of which Knowle is a central concern: https://saveoursidmouth.com/2012/10/23/save-our-sidmouth-reaches-the-daily-telegraph/; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/hands-off-our-land/9625012/Sidmouth-mans-the-barricades.html. And in the local Sidmouth Herald, the local MP Hugo Swire has pledged to ask Minister Pickles to ‘call in’ the OPA should it be passed next month: http://sidmouthindependentnews.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/the-knowle-hugo-swire-is-neutral/.
In your objection to the OPA, you cited the absence of a proper Heritage Statement. EDDC have now commissioned and published a 12-page report:
http://planning.eastdevon.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=externalDocuments&keyVal=M95J5FGH01C00; http://planningapps.eastdevon.gov.uk/Planning/lg/GFPlanningDocuments.page. I have submitted a reply on behalf of both the Vision Group for Sidmouth and the SOS campaign, which I attach.
I would like to thank SAVE Britain’s Heritage for the interest you have taken in this case and would be grateful if you would be able to make any further comments.
With best regards,