Save Our Sidmouth



The following press release has just been issued, on behalf of the Sid Valley residents who organised the Public Meeting:

An overflowing Sidford Social Hall was witness to a series of strong arguments against the proposed business park development in AONB at Sidford Fields by Fords Group, Sidmouth. Among the many speakers at the Public Meeting, organised by Sid Valley Residents on Monday (12 Sep) and chaired by Cathy Debenham:
Alan Green, Director of the Norman Lockyer Observatory said the light pollution from the development would be ‘a total disaster and will destroy us after 104 years.’
Marianne Rixson, East Devon Alliance and EDDC Councillor (Sidmouth-Sidford), presented research showing that Exeter and Honiton currently have 1.6 million square feet of available employment units, so East Devon hardly needs any more, especially in AONB and on a flood plain.
Richard Thurlow, of the Sid Vale Association pointed out that Fords have applied for B2 Light Industrial use, which is not only against the Local Plan, but against locals themselves.
Pam Ward, a governor of Sidbury School said that the increased traffic and kind of vehicles involved would become a serious safety issue for local children.
As a result of the meeting forthcoming actions may include:
• Hiring of a planning consultant to document and present the counter arguments for the DMC – the money was pledged immediately by one audience member.
• Concerted protests to the land owner, Sir John Cave (without disruption to this week’s Sidbury Fair).
• A re-assessment of the sustainability report.
• A re-investigation of Devon Council’s Highway’s Committee report on the proposal’s traffic impact, which is long out-dated (2012)
• Written objections to EDDC planning before the application’s comment’s deadline this week (Friday 16 September)
• Mass public attendance at Knowle at EDDC’s Development Management Committee (DMC) meeting when the decision on Fords’ planning application will be made, possibly October 4th or November 1st 2016. Precise date will be publicised as soon as confirmed.
Over 100 emails and contacts were collected from locals keen to join the protest. There was a serious mood in the room to boycott Fords. There were calls for an eventual Public Enquiry.
Whatever happens, it is clear that the DMC’s decision will not go unnoticed.
More information at:
Facebook- ‘Say NO to Sidford Business Park

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Planned Sidford business park would be “a total disaster” for the Observatory, says NLO Director

At a packed Public Meeting last night in Sidford, past warnings from eminent astrologer, the late Sir Patrick More, and one of his most famous students, Brian May, were loudly echoed by the Director of Sidmouth’s renowned Norman Lockyer Observatory, Alan Green. Brian May and Sir Patrick More had signed the SOS petition four years ago, see But with the fuller information now known about the development actually proposed, Mr Green was scathing. Light pollution from a Business Park of the scale of the one planned at Sidford “could destroy the Observatory”, he told the packed Meeting, organised by residents from Sidford, Sidbury and Sidmouth, with the support of the East Devon Alliance. The focus of the meeting, Chaired by Cathy Debenham, was on information, such as the deadline for comments (this Friday 16th September); what counts as ‘planning considerations’; who will decide on the planning application (It’s EDDC’s Development Management Committee, DMC), and where (usually Knowle Council Chamber), and when (possibly at next DMC meeting in October, or November, but not yet confirmed). There was plenty of time before the start of the meeting to study the several information boards on display.
(Report to be continued..)

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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