An independent initiative by a young architect who went to school in Sidmouth, is described below. It will be of interest to Save Our Sidmouth supporters, as it may create a consultation culture which will assist in the re-shaping of our town, thus facilitating both the Neighbourhood Plan now being prepared by Sidmouth Town Council, and consequently, the Local Plan.
‘An international architecture competition is being launched as a way to expand thinking around the redevelopment of the eastern town and raise awareness of public opinion of how the area should be developed. This novel idea could raise the profile of the town and spark debate.
The competition will be organised and independently co-ordinated by Henry Beech Mole, Associate Director of local practice RBM Architects. He will be supported by local residents and representatives of key groups coming together to form the Eastern Town Partnership. Cathy Gardner and Marianne Rixson are pleased to give support to the project and will help put the group together, to advise on and guide the gathering of information and the development of the competition brief. “If you are approached by someone brandishing a clip board in the Port Royal or Mill Street area, please don’t turn away! We’d like as many people as possible to give their views and get involved in this project” said Cathy Gardner, “It’s also important that this project is seen as complementary to any work done for the Neighbourhood Plan, which will start early in 2016.”
“We hope to engage residents with proposals that we would not have come up with on our own”, said Marianne Rixson, “The opportunity to work with award-winning architects does not come along very often; it’s a great opportunity for Sidmouth”. Cathy and Marianne are two of the ward members representing Sidmouth on East Devon District Council.
This first phase of the project will be to gather data and opinions from local residents, community groups and businesses in order to develop a coherent and community-driven vision for the area. This will inform the development of the brief for an open international architecture competition, where architects, designers, and artists can propose a new vision for the eastern side of town.
The information-gathering exercise will start immediately and continue into the New Year. The first consultation is now open online and closes on 31st January. To get involved please visit http://www.easterntownpartnership.com/