Save Our Sidmouth

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SVA further objects to Fords’ controversial planning application

The Sid Vale Association (SVA) has now submitted a further letter of objection to the Planning Application, ref. 16/0669/MOUT, for a business park on land adjacent to Two Bridges Road,Sidford. further-objection-to-planning-application-development-at-sidford-2-doc
A reminder of SVA’s initial submission is here: 9-sva-objection-letter-of-objection-to-eddc-re-16-0669-mout

In addition, the letter copied below has been sent (10th September 2016) to Jeremy Upfield at Devon County Council Highways:

‘Subject: East Devon Planning Application ref. 16/0669/MOUT

Dear Mr Upfield,

I have seen your response to this application, confirming that the application is acceptable in highway terms.

You should be aware that the Sid Vale Association commissioned an assessment of the traffic and highway aspects of this application in 2012. We also carried out our own traffic counts as the existing data was sparse… The analysis showed that;-

• The developers had underestimated the traffic along the A3052
• The DCC traffic figures were higher and more accurate
• The A3052/A375 junction would be overloaded in 2019.

The report was sent to EDDC and DCC at the time.


The Developer’s traffic assessment is based on a split of development, (9120sqm B1, 6840 B2, 6840 B8) which is not allowed in the Local Plan, (this states that all development should have the “onus” on B1 (Strategy 26 in the Local Plan).

• The Developer’s analysis is based on an opening year of 2014, and a design year of 2019, (6.1 of their report) .Delayed construction, (2019 completion at the earliest) will have a marked detrimental effect on the robustness of the Developer’s calculation.

• The Developer’s analysis  uses a highly conjectural assignment of traffic of 15% northwards along the A375 through Sidbury. They have given no justification for this split.(7.13 of the Transport report)

• You state in your letter that “The estimated number of vehicle movements proposed to go north or come via the north along the A375 towards or through Sidbury is in the region of 15% of the total amount of vehicles using the site. This is likely to be in the region of 59 vehicles in the a.m.peak and 51 vehicles in the p.m. peak, of these approximately 4 vehicles in each peak hour could be larger vehicles accessing the B8 section of the proposed development. Whereas the other 85% of the traffic attracted to the site will go south and use Sidford Cross. This would mean that there would be one additional large vehicle every 15 minutes on average going through Sidbury in either direction in the peak periods. It must be stressed that these figure are based on the full occupancy of both the A and B sites, which as explained earlier may not necessarily be the case if both phases are not built out. This is however a very small increase on the number additional movements through Sidbury and would most likely be unperceivable to the general public.”
Contrary to your observation this will have a marked effect on the safety in Sidford and Sidbury as there are long lengths of highways with NO footpaths in many locations in the latter.

I would like your comments please, on the following issues:-

1. Why have you accepted a transport report that is clearly out of date and assumes construction and design year figures which are wrong?
2. Why have you not taken into account the fact the Developer’s assumed development split is contrary to the LP and that traffic figures will be higher if the LP strategy is implemented?
3. Why have you not considered the great numbers of tourist vehicles, which are not mentioned in the Developer’s report, which substantially congest the A375 during the tourist season? (See Cllr M. Rixson’s report which shows the congestion)
4. Why have you not challenged the Developer’s statement (5.10 in their Transport Assessment), that “it seems reasonable to conclude that the surrounding highway network does not suffer from an inherent infrastructure weakness that could be considered dangerous..” when a cursory inspection of School Street in Sidford and the road through Sidbury shows that it does in fact suffer greatly from features that give great risk of danger? (see bullet point 4 above)
5. Why have you accepted the Developer’s assertion of 15% going northward through Sidbury and why have you not taken into account the substandard highway and footway network in that village?
6. On what basis do you assert that the increase in heavy traffic will not be noticeable to the public?
7. Why have you not taken into account the construction traffic during the probably two year construction period, and made recommendations as to its effect and amelioration?

Richard Thurlow,
Chair, Sid Vale Conservation and Planning Committee

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Council’s ‘final decision’ to relocate: SOS comment, and update on Tribunal

Message from Chair of Save Our Sidmouth, Richard Thurlow :

‘Whilst we are naturally disappointed by the decision to relocate, it was not unexpected. East Devon District Council has an overwhelming majority of one party and is dominated by a Cabinet of strong views and persuasions.The rest of the majority party follow the leadership, even when the last incumbent local MP is against the move.

Save Our Sidmouth has two main areas of concern about the relocation project: implications for the District, and for the Town:

With regard to the District, we are concerned that
• There is a great loss in capital assets. Land and property worth nearly £10m is being traded for a property in Honiton worth as an asset about £3.25 m, all to save a hypothetical sum of £6m in operating costs over 20 years (these are EDDC’s own figures).
• Large loans, (£9.5m for several years and then £2.1m for 20 years), are being taken to finance the move.
• All predictions over these durations are highly conjectural and likely to be wrong.
• There will be a probable reorganisation of Local Government in the near future which will render the relocation project meaningless.
• There will almost certainly be a change in EDDC political makeup in May 2015, which may change EDDC’s attitude to relocation.
• Inefficiencies are likely to result from having a HQ in two places (Honiton and Exmouth).
• The relocation argument focuses on the as yet untried “Mobile working, WORKSMART initiatives, and Mobile Hubs”, all of which could fail and not provide the promised efficiencies.
• There has been no real effort on the part of EDDC, (apart from a cursory blanket-costing), of the option of using the newer building at the Knowle. This was in truth ruled out by EDDC from the start.
• The chosen developer has been approved by EDDC without negotiating ‘Heads of Terms’ which means that the developer is in a very strong negotiating position.

With regard to Sidmouth we are concerned over
• the loss of 300 professional jobs, with over 80 of those coming from Sidmouth
• the loss of over £1m in local income from the relocation of the current HQ, (EDDC own figures)
• the loss of parkland and terraces outside the building footprint, which will severely damage the visual aspects and deny the public a right to enter.

In all of their dealings with the public, EDDC have demonstrated arrogance, and disregard for real discussions with the public, real consultation, and public opinion. This may well be demonstrated in the forthcoming decision by the First Tier Tribunal (EDDC vs Information Commissioner & Jeremy Woodward)*, where the judgement could be that EDDC must release data, a decision that they have been fighting for over two years at a cost of well over £10,000, for QC’s fees.

Although the decision has been to relocate we intend to continue with our fight, and we have some real opportunities to stop the relocation.

Firstly, we have taken legal opinion regarding EDDC’s land grabbing of the terrace land and are considering our options.
Secondly, the Knowle Residents’Association has submitted an application to have the parkland registered as an Asset of Community Value**.
Thirdly, Devon County Council has been asked to register public rights of way through the upper terraces, based on public usage. EDDC has objected to this and we will have an opportunity to make our case for the registration in a Public Inquiry which will take place in September.
Fourthly, the chosen developer still has to apply for planning permission for the development, and SOS will resist this to the maximum degree.

*29/04/2015 After months of  delays and ‘complications’, the Tribunal’s decision is expected ‘very soon’

** Asset of Community Value.  EDDC has initially rejected this application as being unsatisfactory. Knowle Residents’ Association and Save Our Sidmouth are currently in negotiation with EDDC with a view to submitting an improved plan. More news will be posted when available.

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Key documents