There’s still time, before tomorrow’s deadline, if you haven’t sent your own response. Below is another example, if required, for inspiration (More at Knowle Watch category archive to right of this page, esp January 31.30,26,25, and24 ):
Comment on OPA: 12/1847/MOUT
Jeremy Woodward: 1st February 2013
It is disappointing that the District Council has made no effort to evaluate the local heritage value of the Knowle site.
> The Heritage Statement of Significance makes no reference to the local significance of the site, preferring to mention only the nationally-listed building-work.
> The Design and Heritage Champion has submitted no comment; neither have any other Councillors or Officers at the District Council chosen to comment on the heritage value of Knowle.
The only public statement made by the District Council with regard to this has been in the form of a quotation from another statutory body. In its press release of 28th September 2012 entitled ‘Knowle does not merit national listing’, the District Council noted the following:
The English Heritage report concludes: “Knowle, formerly known as Knowle Cottage, with its prominent position overlooking the town of Sidmouth, and the remains of its landscape garden, which is now a public space, have clear local interest.
“However the house and the grounds have been heavily altered in their successive uses. The alterations that have occurred both to the gardens and the house mean that neither meets the criteria for designation in a national context, though they are evidently highly-valued by the local community”. http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/communications_and_consultation.htm?newsid=711
In other words, there has been no proper recognition from the District Council of the heritage value of the Knowle site. It has taken the objections of several national and county organisations to underline the fact that Knowle has ‘clear local interest’ and that it is ‘evidently highly-valued by the local community’:
> The Devon Gardens Trust has had to remind the District Council that it added the Knowle grounds to its Devon Local Register of Parks and Gardens of Historic Interest in 2004. In its July 2012 objection to the OPA it stated that: We consider that it would not be acceptable, in terms of the historic designed landscape, to build on any of the existing parkland.
> SAVE Britain’s Heritage stated in its September 2012 objection to the OPA that: … the loss of the Knowle and development of the park on the scale proposed would represent a devastating blow to the history and character of Sidmouth. Furthermore: The council should be setting an example to the district and showing that historic buildings should be valued not discarded.
> The Victorian Society’s January 2013 objection to the OPA refers to: the historical and local significance of the building and the survival of some of its internal features, whilst reiterating SAVE’s comments that the heritage assessment is inadequate. Furthermore, the Society specifically mentions the District Council’s 1999 Conservation Appraisal for Sidmouth, which stated that the area up to Knowle should be assessed for potential inclusion in the designated area, and therefore that its significance should be properly evaluated. http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/plg_sidmouth1-3caa.pdf
By these accounts, the documentation submitted to English Heritage for the national listing of Knowle is still relevant with regard to the local significance of the site.
I therefore submit this as an attachment to my comment to the OPA.