Save Our Sidmouth

Response to first Pegasus Life Exhibition (Nov 2015) on plans for Knowle

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Text of statement sent to Sidmouth Herald by SOS Chair Richard Thurlow, who is also Chair of Conservation and Planning for the Sid Vale Association (SVA):

‘Pegasus Life are conducting a charm offensive to win over the hearts of the residents of Sidmouth. In doing so they are clearly streets ahead of EDDC’s dictatorial approach. The SVA’s disagreement is with the latter and their removal of 400 good jobs from a defined employment area, and not as yet with EDDC’s chosen candidate for development.

The Exhibition focused almost wholly on the Knowle parkland, and the external surroundings of their large development. Whilst we appreciate their apparent wish to involve the Sidmouth public in this, the parkland, will in any event remain in public hands. It is to be hoped though that Pegasus, should their application succeed, will contribute to its improvement and maintenance.

There was minimal space in the exhibition which gave an indication of size, styles and massing of the buildings they plan. Whilst appreciating their wish to minimise their plans in advance of their planning application we feel it is a pity that they have not been more open with these aspects, which, bearing in mind that they must submit an application by March next year, must be well advanced.

Little could be seen from the display that illustrated their thinking on the buildings, but what could be seen showed that the two separately defined areas on the development (the Plateau and the Dell) did not appear to have any similarity of design or context. It also seems that they are intending to adopt a brutalist approach to appearance and scale of the former, with flattish roofs from the separate “Blocks” highlighted against the horizon from the approach from the south. But hopefully this might change and Pegasus did seem to appreciate that the building height must be kept as low as possible to conceal the development from Station Road. Pegasus also understood our concern about the treatment of the upper terraces outside the footprint of the buildings and we hope that they will preserve the open appearance and public access to these areas and the footpaths through the site.

A surprising admission was that they are planning over 120 dwellings on the site, whereas the emerging Local Plan , (yet to be reported on by the Inspector), proposes only 60.

We await Pegasus Life’s further exhibition in January.’

Reminder of SVA objections to EDDC’s plans for Knowle can be viewed at http://www.sidvaleassociation.org.uk/index.php?page=sva-objections-to-proposed-knowle-redevelopment

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