Save Our Sidmouth


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TODAY.. Sidmouth Town Council planning committee to consider Fords’ amended planning application. St Peter’s Church Hall, Sidford, 6.30pm

The site of the proposed Sidford business park is in Two Bridges Road,  on land to the right in this picture (August 2016).
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The following photos and illustrations sent in to SOS may help with visualising the impact of the current planning application on the landscape, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) .

The planning application is for phase 1(shown in planning application document shown below .Hard standing areas for vehicles have been highlighted for clarity, and the recent photo of a nearby business park (Honiton,Heathpark) indicate what they typically look like.

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The planning application includes warehousing and storage. These photos show Fords’ present site at the Alexandria Road Industrial estate.

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More information in the next SOS post.

 

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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?’


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Inspector’s recommendations for Sidmouth “a huge disappointment” .

The following press release has been issued (20/01/2016), on behalf of Save Our Sidmouth:

‘Response to East Devon District Council’s update on the LOCAL PLAN

The Inspector’s recommendation that the Local Plan should include both the Employment site at Sidford and a Housing site at the Knowle for 50 dwellings is a huge disappointment. It ignores the clear wishes of a large proportion of Sidmouth residents, Sidmouth Town Council and all the Sidmouth EDDC councillors.

At the Knowle, the decision to allow 50 houses on the site instead of continuing local employment for 400 professional staff will in economic terms, severely affect the town, as well as have a detrimental effect on the Parkland. In view of his decision, it will be interesting to hear how EDDC will reconcile this with the potential developer’s desire to build over 120 dwellings on the site.

At Sidford, we know that the decision to include the site is flawed, and is based on fallacious data. There is evidence to suggest that EDDC and their now disgraced Business Forum, canvassed developers for potential sites, and then manufactured the rationale and analysis to support their internally chosen site. EDDC let the proponents of that site produce “evidence” to support it, and never questioned the data. This included flawed traffic figures, no real visual analysis, and unsupported flood analysis, amongst other deficiencies. The Employment allocation arises solely because of the commercial pressures of one landowner and a business in the town.

Later, EDDC, under pressure from Sidmouth Councillors, saw sense and accepted that the site should not have been included. They decided to omit the Employment allocation from the third and final submission. Unfortunately the Inspector had ruled that no revisions were allowed at that late stage.

Thus the town may well end up with having an obtrusive, flood-prone, traffic- congesting group of sheds on its doorstep. Or the possibility of a large retail park, which will destroy the nature of the town forever. Moreover, the residents of Sidford will now have blight on their homes because of the impending development and a continuing worry about traffic and flooding.

Sidmouth does not need a further Employment site; the town already has one at Alexandria Road, which with a modicum of attention could accommodate all the minor employment opportunities that is needed.

We are extremely grateful for all the support that Sid Valley residents have given in time and money over the last few years, and they may rest assured that although we are naturally disappointed with the outcome, we have not given up.
R J Thurlow. Chair, Save Our Sidmouth’

Some photos from SOS archive (2013), for reference.

They show Sidford to Sidbury Rd, alongside the proposed employment site; and the ‘welcome’ sign at the Knowle Drive entrance to the footpath.

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