Save Our Sidmouth

Sidford employment land scandal will not go away, despite adoption of Local Plan


EDDC’s Local Plan was adopted last night, with acceptance that it has many flaws (the Inspector had demanded around 200 ‘main modifications’).
The seemingly irregular circumstances surrounding the insertion into the Local Plan of the 5 hectare employment land on an AONB part-floodplain at Sidford, will now pass to Scrutiny.
Before the vote last night on the adoption of EDDC’s Local Plan, Cllr Marianne Rixson (EDA Ind, Sidmouth/Sidford) asked the following questions, which remain unanswered:

‘I would describe the whole shambolic process leading to the inclusion of Sidford employment land as the Hokey Cokey.

First it was in, then it was out, then it was in because it was never really out at all, was it? Why do I say this? Because no mitigating evidence was submitted at the time the final draft was submitted, so the inspector had no option but to make his decision on the evidence before him. At last week’s DMC meeting, Ed Freeman admitted that he had NOT been instructed to submit further evidence.

Now what we all need to know is:

1. Who failed to instruct Ed Freeman to add mitigating evidence for the withdrawal of the Sidford site?
2. Why were Members not advised that supporting evidence was vital if the late stage vote to delete the Sidford site was to be even considered by the Inspector?
3. Did Cllr Hughes know that he had to submit additional evidence. If not, why not?

The Council changed their mind, and voted for the deletion of the Sidford site for good reason – not least, because this particular employment land contradicts their new Local Plan’s policy of reducing in-commuting.

My question to the Leader on his Hokey Cokey Sidford plan is ….

– Who failed to instruct officers?
– Who failed to inform Members (including Cllr Hughes) and
– WHY were they not informed?’

2 thoughts on “Sidford employment land scandal will not go away, despite adoption of Local Plan

  1. Shared on Facebook with a very long comment about the detrimental effects associated with locating this very large area on our doorstep. Surely, placing this site on the road going into Exeter would be better for everyone. More, regular public transport to get there; easy for larger vehicle access through traffic light control; will not spoil the landscape and can be placed on more level land that won’t cause flooding.

  2. Thank you very much, Elizabeth, for sharing your comments on Facebook.
    And please note, the fundamental question of whether a business park of this scale is needed, will become clear when evidence has been gathered for the Sidmouth Neighbourhood Plan. (NP) . A NP is now in preparation, thanks to the new composition of the Town Council since the May 2015 elections.
    But how exactly the Sidford site ever got into the Local Plan in the first place, will no doubt remain under scrutiny.
    For your information, Scrutiny meetings, held at Knowle, Sidmouth, are listed on the EDDC website, and are open to the public, who are permitted to ask questions at the beginning of the meeting, about items on the agenda. Simply register your name and topic of the question (no more than 3-minutes in length), on arrival at the Council Chamber.

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