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Sidmouth Councillors launch ‘3Rs’ alternative for Port Royal..Retain, Refurbish, Reuse

It should be pointed out that this campaign is not a Save Our Sidmouth initiative, but will naturally be of interest to our readers who live or work in and around Sidmouth.

The Sidmouth Herald had the first online report this morning, here http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/retain-refurbish-re-use-campaigners-alternative-vision-for-sidmouth-s-port-royal-1-5108738

As reported also on the devonlive website, the 3Rs campaign has apparently taken off with a 38 degrees petition,https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/alternative-plan-for-sidmouth-s-port-royal-the-3r-s,  and a public meeting arranged for 23rd August, 7pm at All Saints’Church Hall.  A facebook page  Retain Refurbish Reuse  offers the public the opportunity to take the debate forward.

 

 

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Is the Port Royal ‘five-storey vision’ blind to flood risk and sewage?

This letter from a District Councillor urges caution. It appears in today’s  OPINION  page of the Sidmouth Herald (sentence in bold highlighted by SOS).

Sir,

The Port Royal ‘five-storey vision’, reported in the Sidmouth Herald on 30th June 2017, poses two particular problems: flood risk and sewage. The Port Royal and Ham area, originally categorised as Flood Zone 2 was re-classified by the Environment Agency (EA) in 2016 as the high risk Flood Zone 3a.

EA updated guidelines apply to all new developments. They state that flooding will intensify in the South West: surface water will double (up from 20% to 40%) and river flow volumes will increase by up to 85% by 2080. Sea levels will also rise by up to 1.24m in the south.

This risk has already been recognised by Devon County Council which is at last planning to move Alma Bridge further upstream ‘by August 2018’.

Up to thirty dwellings were allocated to Port Royal in the East Devon Local Plan. But Councils have a responsibility to ensure that dwellings are built in suitable locations rather than on flood plains. Expanding the current footprint, as proposed at Port Royal, should certainly be avoided and a more appropriate site found.

Finally, the South West Water sewage works would be very close to future development. This must surely bear closer examination especially in light of:

A). The likelihood that the River Sid will become more exposed due to erosion and
B) The impact of noxious niffs and worse from the sewage works. Related incidents have already caused embarrassment for our local MP, Sir Hugo Swire, and Sidmouth scouts (May 2014).

If you’re worried about the proposals for Port Royal, do contact your District Councillors and the Town Council as soon as possible.

Cllr Marianne Rixson
Sidmouth-Sidford Ward
East Devon Alliance


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Port Royal proposal: “the wrong plan..in the wrong place..at the wrong time”?

The Sidmouth Herald ‘s Opinion page today had more highly critical letters, based on planning issues, of the combined Councils’s one proposal (put forward by EDDC jointly with STC).  One letter is copied below; the others to follow. All are from Sid Valley residents, although visitors to the town might well share precisely the same concerns.

‘Sir

The massive bulk of the proposed building at Port Royal would be disastrous for the look and feel of the seafront and the Ham.  The view from the seafront at present shows the lifeboat station, sailing club and Drill Hall gradually tapering down to a view of the cliffs.  By contrast, the height and size of the proposed new building would give a very hard finish to the seafront, would obscure part of the view of the cliffs, and would not fit in with the surrounding natural environment or existing buildings.  Meanwhile, the Ham would be dominated by the height and shadow of the proposed building.
The proposed building is in a Conservation Area, but what we are being offered is not conservation.  We do not need 30 very expensive apartments, and we already have a lifeboat station and facilities for the sailing club and gig club.  The best approach for Sidmouth would be to refurbish what is already there, and the land at Port Royal should continue to be used mainly for community benefit.
The Drill Hall is a historic building which gives a link to Sidmouth’s past, and thus it is important to Sidmouth.  Although it has been neglected over recent years, it could and should be refurbished (possibly with grant aid) as an attractive and interesting building for community services / visitor services / small performance venue / café.  Its historic interest would give extra appeal for visitors etc, and it would fit in well with other elements in the Conservation area.  The information centre could also possibly find a more prominent location in the refurbished Drill Hall.
The fishing boats drawn up at the head of the beach currently add to the area’s character and should be retained in that location, whilst the fishermen’s sales area should also be retained.   We cannot afford to lose public car parking spaces, and we surely do not want boats parked on the Ham.
Might the proposed new massive building represent substantial harm to the Conservation Area, or to the setting of the Sidmouth coast, which is part of a World Heritage Site? – if so, unless there are substantial public benefits, it seems that this might be contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework.  And could demolition of the Drill Hall, resulting in irretrievable loss of a historic building, represent substantial harm to the Conservation Area?
The proposed new massive building and associated changes for Port Royal represent the wrong plan – inappropriate for a Sidmouth Conservation Area – in the wrong place – Flood Zone 3, and with the protection offered by the cliffs under threat – and at the wrong time – the priority should be to reinstate the Eastern beach.

Regards
John Labrum