Save Our Sidmouth

Knowle Planning Application Meeting on 1st March, is part of our wish to move, says EDDC spin doctor

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We have continually been told that the decision of the vital planning committee on 1st  March concerning the future of the Knowle, will be taken solely on planning grounds.
 Committee chairman Williamson and Tory Whip Cllr Twiss have insisted that EDDC’s wish to move its HQ is not a material consideration when the committee considers whether to approve the council’s own application to demolish the Knowle and build on the parkland.
But has anyone told Communications Officer, Nick Stephen?
This is what he said yesterday in a note to the media (underlined highlight by SOS)

‘EDDC has released details of arrangements for a special planning meeting to be held on 1 March to determine the outline planning application for redeveloping the Council’s headquarters site at Knowle, Sidmouth, as part of its aspirations to relocate.’
So now the intentions are clear.

The press release can be found  at

To ensure the wider public is aware of the unusual special arrangements for this meeting, the information is also copied below:

19 February 2013Plans outlined for special planning meetingOn Friday 1 March East Devon District Council’s Development Management Committee is meeting to determine the council’s Outline Planning Application for its Knowle site in Sidmouth.With local interest expected to be high, the Council is setting out its arrangements for the meeting to help manage expectations.An extra room with a live audio feed has been made available for the 2.00 p.m. meeting, increasing the total number of people the Council can accommodate. A Committee Room alongside the Council Chamber will be open to the public, and the total combined capacity of the Chamber and this room will be for a maximum of 200 people. This number is including the Councillors who sit on the Committee and any other Councillors or Officers who are present, so space will be limited.The main doors to the Committee Suite will be opened half an hour before the meeting, allowing plenty of time for people to arrive. Anyone arriving sooner will not be able to enter the building until the doors are opened at 1.30 p.m. People may need to be counted in by staff to make sure the building doesn’t go over capacity in breach of fire regulations, and the Council is thanking people in advance for their patience should this be necessary.

Public welcome

As with any planning application, members of the public are welcome to attend and speak on the application, offering either support or objection to the plans. However, in line with usual practice where there is an interested group of objectors or supporters, a spokesperson should be chosen to speak on behalf of the group. Speakers should restrict their comments to planning considerations only. Public speakers will be limited to a period of three minutes each.

People do not need to register to speak before the day of the meeting. Anyone wishing to speak will need to enter their name on the day, using the speakers’ sheet located in the lobby area.

Importantly, the planning meeting is only considering the Outline Planning Application put before it, and not the principle of whether or not the Council should, could or will relocate. This is a decision to be made by the full Council later in the year. Because of this, anyone who wishes to speak should concentrate only on planning matters related to the application, as these matters are the only things the Committee can consider.

People can view the planning application online before the meeting by visiting and searching for application number 12/1847/MOUT.

Councillor Mark Williamson, Chairman of the Development Management Committee, said:

“This is undoubtedly a high profile application, but it will follow through our normal procedures and will be debated with an open mind by the Committee, as is the case with every planning application. It is important that people understand in advance the limitations – this is a meeting about an Outline Planning Application and the planning matters that relate to it. It is not a forum for debate about the wider merits or demerits of moving the council’s business, nor is it where a decision on that issue will be made.

Fair and balanced

“We will be determining an outline planning application, nothing more, nothing less. This means we will consider all relevant information, including the advice of professional officers, the technical details in the supporting documents and the planning arguments put forward by supporters or objectors. We will reach a fair and balanced decision based on established planning principles ”.

The decision of the Committee will determine whether parts of the Knowle site could, in principle, be developed. As an ‘Outline’ application it is about the principle of development rather than details such as the design of buildings. The Development Management Committee may approve or refuse the application, and any approval may have specific conditions, which are a legal obligation, attached to it.


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