Save Our Sidmouth


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Sidford Business Park still in Local Plan. Comments must be submitted by midday on 12 June.

East Devon District Council released their latest version of the Local Plan for consultation a few weeks ago. You can find their invitation to comment here:
http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1060690/final-edlp-consultation-instruction-from-eddc-ver02.pdf

and you can find the Sidmouth chapter of the revised LP here:

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1060693/psd2015a-local-plan-tracked-changes-consultation-apr-2015.pdf

EDDC continued their proposals to allow up to 50 dwellings at the Knowle, 20 at Manstone, and 30 at Port Royal as in their last version.

They did omit the Employment land at Sidford. But in doing so they said that there may be a need to consider “a new Employment site on the northern edge of Sidmouth”: a location undefined by them.

The Inspector has said that any replies MUST be related to the changes in the Local Plan by EDDC, and that he will not consider other comments. He has also said very significantly for SOS that as EDDC submitted their original Local Plan with the Sidford site included, they cannot now remove it and he will be the one to decide whether it is omitted.

If you are interested in making a Representation, then please note the above. THE SIDFORD SITE IS MOST IMPORTANT and we do need comments that add to the need to exclude it.
These are:

• Devon Wildlife Trust has issued a Report that says that the water quality of the Sid is reasonable, it is very fragile and additional discharges will pollute it.
• Any proposals to build at Sidford will need raising of the ground by about 2 metres to preclude flooding. This will mean vastly increased Visual Intrusion.
• The existing Alexandria Road Industrial Estate now has increased capacity since the National Grid site was purchased by a current employer on this Industrial Estate. Consequently, there is even less need now for a new site elsewhere.
• Sidmouth does not need a new Employment site for 1400 new workers, as proposed.

Richard Thurlow
Chair, Save Our Sidmouth


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New access being considered for Sidmouth’s existing employment site

The long-awaited provision of access to the Alexandria Road Industrial Estate from the Bulverton Road may be getting closer. This week’s DMC were told by District and County Cllr Stuart Hughes, that Highways are now looking into it.
SOS has long argued that brownfield sites such as the Alexandria Road Estate should be fully used as a priority, before farmland and other non-renewable greenfield sites are earmarked for development.


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Access to Alexandria Road Industrial Estate

Following the first Sidmouth hearing, an important point was raised by Graham Cooper with the Local Plan Inspector, regarding the potential for fuller use of the existing employment land at the Alexandria Road Estate.

Here’s an aerial view of the site AlexRoadStudy

A suggested solution to improve the access (from Bulverton Road) is set out in this letter in the Sidmouth Herald (21st March):

‘Dear Editor

In respect to the Sidmouth section of the Local Plan there is a clear need for a new entrance to the Alexandria Industrial Estate. It is the potential deal with a major supermarket to purchase the Alexandria site which is underwriting the proposed industrial development in the Sidford AONB and is the generator of the EDDC’s redistribution of employment land in its ambition to relocate. Should this be allowed to proceed it will have a considerable impact on the economic vitality of the town centre and the rain run-off will contribute to flooding downstream at Port Royal. The Bulverton Road access to the industrial estate is therefore the lynchpin to the whole employment land solution in the resort.

The Alexandria estate has operated under capacity for many years, but with some modest reconfiguring such as an improved access it is capable of accommodating much more employment space. During the Local Plan discussions we were informed by the Ford’s agent that the access road was problematic because it would cost £1m to install and that the ransom strip was owned by 13 different parties. It appears however that it wasn’t a problem for Morrison’s who included just such an entrance location in their plans for their store and filling station. Can we rely on an agent’s representations or do we need an independent assessment?

Local professionals without a vested interest estimate the cost for a simple T junction to be more like £300K and this could be financed by building a series of business units along the strip. The number of owners is irrelevant as we are only interested in one particular section of the ransom strip. According to local knowledge nearly all this section of land belongs to a director and former co-director of the adjacent construction company. It is clearly a case of where there is a will to talk there is a way!

Consequently a cost benefit analysis of whether the access is viable would have to be compared with the cost to Sidmouth of further large scale out-of-town retail and commercial development. Currently Sidmouth has a well distributed and sustainable live-work balance but the proposed single zone of five hectares lacks evidence and has poor transport connectivity. On the other hand the more sensible calculations by consultants Roger Tyms of one hectare of employment land is achievable by refiguring the Alexandria estate and introducing mixed developments in Eastern Town and on brown field sites elsewhere.

Sincerely,
Graham Cooper

For more background, including a diagram of a new simple access, go to the Futures Forum blogspot.