EDDC’s response to public protest (1) and to scathing criticism from high-level Independent bodies (in separate, very recent, reports by a Tribunal Judge (2) and by the Information Commissioner (3)), is clear. The re-shaping of Sidmouth is underway. The following statement is being issued:
‘East Devon District Council is delighted to report that after detailed negotiation, contracts have today been exchanged with Pegasus Life for the sale of the Knowle site. This is an important milestone in our plans to move HQ to our new sites in Honiton and Exmouth. There is still a long way to go as we move through future work such as planning, design, construction and the move itself which is planned for October 2017.
Pegasus will provide, on part of the Knowle site, a high quality retirement and assisted living community including restaurant, spa and other facilities that will also be available to use by the public. Furthermore, the facility will create jobs and generate new spend in Sidmouth. Also this important step forward happens alongside the council’s continued commitment to hand over the remaining parkland to the ownership of Sidmouth Town Council.’
SOS cautions that the local restaurants and spa already established in the town, existing care homes struggling to find qualified staff, and cash-strapped Sidmouth Town Council, are amongst the many who would be adversely affected by such plans.
(1) https://sidmouthindependentnews.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/some-priceless-photos-from-the-march/, courtesy of Peter Nasmyth
(3)See www. whatdotheyknow.com Information Commissioner’s response, June 2015, to EDDC’s failures in handling Paul Freeman’s FOI request