Please write, quoting 12/1847/MOUT, to Mrs Anna Herbert at EDDC, Knowle, Sidmouth (or email her at AHerbert@eastdevon.gov.uk or register comments online on EDDC’s website) by midday on Friday 16th November.
Sidmouth Town Council will consider the plans at their next meeting (dates to be confirmed) and the EDDC Management Development (i.e.planning) committee will meet on Dec 4 at 2pm at Knowle.
Some examples of reasons to object:
- Misinformation and selective presentation from EDDC undermine the need to demonstrate exceptional circumstances to advance an OPA (Outline Planning Application) which goes against many EDDC and government policies.
- The savings on carbon outputs in the new building will take 50 years to balance the carbon emissions that come from the demolition of Knowle and new construction at Honiton.
- Even allowing for 6500 homes in Cranbrook, Sidmouth will on average be closer to people across the District. A move to Honiton by EDDC would increase the average resident’s journey to EDDC by 18% compared with that to Sidmouth.
- As EDDC staff only need half the current floorspace, EDDC could halve its energy use by moving all activities into the 1975 offices at Knowle; they could halve energy use again by modest improvements to the 1975 offices and investment in renewables. EDDC could sell the land in Honiton earmarked for the new offices to part-fund the improvements. Once staff have moved into refurbished offices, EDDC could sell the historic Knowle buildings to contribute further to the provision of renewable energy installation, probably leaving a balance of funds for other projects elsewhere in the District. Conversion of the old Knowle Hotel into 50 luxury flats would meet the dwellings target for Knowle. All these steps could be taken with minimum environmental damage and no impact on greenfield land or ecology whatsoever.
- EDDC claims that 70% of Knowle parkland will remain unscathed by development. They do not state however that at least 60% of the formal gardens will be lost under housing in zones D & E which extend beyond draft LDP map outlines. The Knowle site will only have 8% gardens after development, down from 28% now. The parkland known as the Arena Field will lose 30% of its grassland and many trees to buildings in zones A & B of the OPA, both also extending beyond the draft LDP map outlines.
- Knowle Drive is narrow with single-track stretches, blind bends and inadequate passing places, especially near zone E. Getting into and out of Knowle Drive is difficult at either end, with blind junctions and hazards like the pinch point on Station Road. It is impossible for lorries safely to enter or exit Knowle Drive at the lower end and nearly as difficult for them to come down to zone E from the top.
- Devon Wildlife Consultants recommends actions which should be considered obligatory to avoid contravening UK and EU wildlife legislation pertaining to the proposed development. They say the Local Planning Authority will likely require information relating to further protected species surveys, prior to determining any outline or full planning permission relating to the site: - If any mature trees are to be disturbed, an assessment of these trees should be undertaken along with, where appropriate, a bat dawn re-entry survey prior to commencing such works – this has not been done; - a bat activity survey should be undertaken comprising fourteen surveys to be undertaken during April to September/October – this has not been done; - the mature woodland and vegetation structures distributed throughout and around the site should be retained and enhanced in order to retain the historic nature of the site and provide foraging for bats, badgers, and other terrestrial mammals, invertebrates and bird species; this is not planned. In terms of public open space, the proposed development at Knowle will reduce to below the ‘standard’ area (1 hectare per 1000 people) of ‘parks and recreation land’ in Sidmouth (the Byes is ‘natural and seminatural open space’ and should not have been counted by EDDC as ‘parks and recreation land’ in their assessments). This contravenes the East Devon Open Spaces Study, 2011, adopted June 2012 by the Development Management Committee of EDDC to inform planning policy. It contravenes the aims of: the Adopted Local Plan 2006-2026; the draft Local Development Plan; the Green Infrastructure Study for the Exeter Area and East Devon New Growth Point: April 2009; and the National Planning Policy Framework. And it does so without making an indisputable, let alone exceptional case for accepting the proposal. Nor does it offer alternative areas. It must therefore be rejected by the EDDC Planning Committee.
PLEASE NOTE: DEADLINE IS NOW 16TH NOVEMBER, BY MIDDAY, for objections to revised Knowle Plans.