Save Our Sidmouth

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EDDC finally to disclose details of Knowle sale agreement

Today’s Herald’s facebook page has the story:

EDDC’s statement on the matter, issued today (23 January 2017), and copied below for information, can be found on the council website.
‘Statement – East Devon District Council withdraws appeals against Information Commisioner’s decision
Council to publish next tranche of relocation information, covering period up to September 2016

East Devon District Council has taken the decision to withdraw its appeals against the Information Commissioner Office’s (ICO) decision, which ordered the council to release details of the bidding process for its council offices at Knowle, Sidmouth and the contract it has with PegasusLife, the buyer of Knowle. The council previously stated in November 2016 that the appeals were lodged due to the way the ICO handled these requests and because of the sensitivity of the information at that moment in time. With the PegasusLife planning application having been refused, it is considered that this sensitivity has now been reduced and that publication of the information is acceptable. In addition, the ICO, through the appeal process, has clarified that the council was right to question the way the decision was made and, as such, the council has now obtained much needed clarity on the position relating to the confidentiality of tendering processes, not just for Knowle, but for all its commercial activities.
Mr Jeremy Woodward has been provided with the information that he requested and copies of the documents in question will be available on the relocation pages on the East Devon website.
The council would like to reaffirm its commitment to publishing information relating to the relocation project as and when it is appropriate to do so. The next tranche of paperwork, which covers up to September 2016, should be available online very shortly.

Furthermore, we can confirm that there has been no cost to us – or East Devon taxpayers – for undertaking this appeals process. Each of the parties to the appeal agreed to bear their own costs and our costs were all internal.’



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“Define the Vision, Shape the Future” of the Sid Valley. Invitation to the Neighbourhood Plan event, this Friday (27 Jan) at Kennaway House

As many towns and villages in East Devon are currently discovering , a Neighbourhood Plan (NP) promotes the best interests of the community, based on local people’s views, and local needs, and offers some protection against speculative development.  Clyst St Mary NP is the latest one to be nearing completion, and the Sid Valley NP is well underway.

The Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan Steering group, who  have been working on a range of issues during the past nine months, including

Built environment
Natural Environment
Community & Culture Young People
Economic Development
Port Royal Redevelopment

You are warmly invited to look at the results and ideas so far, and to give your feedback, at the next public event which takes place in Sidmouth on Friday this week. Details as follows:

“Define the Vision, Shape the Future” Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan Stakeholder and Residents Event
On 27th January 2017 at Kennaway House, Sidmouth EX10 8NG .

10am -5pm (Morning Session: 10.00 – 13.00 OR Afternoon Session: 14.00-17.00)
Refreshments and a buffet lunch will be provided. Please confirm attendance by the 23rd January 2017
For more information on the Neighbourhood Plan either go to the website or contact Deirdre Hounsom on 01395 576736 or Tim Salt at Sidmouth Town Council offices.


The Context for Our Vision

The Sid Valley is comprised of four distinct but connected areas; the seaside resort of Sidmouth and the rural villages of Salcombe Regis, Sidford and Sidbury. The area has a wealth of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture which in Sidmouth, contributes to a high-status townscape of national significance. The town has a wide range of retail businesses, and offers high quality year- round accommodation of different types.

The area is renowned for its outstanding natural environment and quality of life for those who live and visit. It has a strong tourism sector which has the potential to grow and diversify. To meet the needs of our community the Sid Valley requires carefully balanced development providing suitable affordable housing for residents both young and old. Our vision through the Neighbourhood Plan promotes quality employment opportunities, revitalises tourism and connects people with what the Sid Valley has to offer.

Our Vision

Our vision is of a Sid Valley that maintains and promotes its rural coastal beauty and welcoming community, and advances its appeal to young and old through providing a vibrant diverse economy which supports a high quality of living, working and visiting.

This vision conserves and enhances our enviable picturesque location on the Jurassic Coast. It nurtures and promotes the ambience of our community to which both residents and visitors connect.

To realise our vision, our Neighbourhood Plan encourages changes which benefit our community; children and young people and families and older people and the economy.

Appropriate developments should complement and protect our natural environment whilst improving the existing built environment in our town and villages in both scale and character.

Development should reinvigorate the Eastern End of Sidmouth, known as Port Royal, to become a culturally vibrant centre for the community and visitors, incorporating facilities with links to the sea.

AIMS FOR THE EVENT: This event is designed to test he vision and explore the opportunities for change and improvement. Overall aims are:
· To inform people about and invite input to hone/develop the SG vision.
· To consult on the need and opportunity for development.
· To identify areas to improve and protect.
· To invite feedback on the Draft Place Analysis.
· To identify questions to wider public for the next stage of consultation.

TIMETABLE – A three- hour workshop will run twice for two different sets of people; once in the morning followed by an afternoon session. In each session, there will be time for attendees to go to two 45 minute workshops.

Our Built environment (Housing Needs, Architecture) – Annabel Keegan CE
– How can the built environment better meet the needs of a multi-generational community?
– What design qualities should new development have inside the settlement boundaries?
– What special qualities should new development have if outside the boundary?

Our Natural Environment (Green Spaces, AONB land, Preservation) – Graham Cooper NP
– Which are the important views and physical connections to the landscape from the public spaces and streets in Sidmouth & Sidford, Sidbury and Salcombe Regis?
– Where could the boundary condition be improved with better visual and physical links to the countryside?
– Which boundaries could accommodate change with least impact?

Housing (Our needs for the next 15 years) – Michael Earthey NP
– What housing mix would be desirable for new sites?
– Is Building for Life a good standard to assess design quality – would any of the criteria need to be made more specific?
– What are the strengths and weaknesses of the design of recent development, what can we learn for this?

Transport (Park and Change, shared-use pathways) – Jon Tricker CE
– How can cycle links be improved across the town, what benefits could this bring?
– How can movement between residential areas and the town centre be improved and made more sustainable?
– How can the public realm in the town centre be improved over time?

Community & Culture, Young People (Arts, Festivals, Resources) – Deirdre Hounsom & Andie Miles
– How can the experience of Sidmouth as a destination in the Jurassic be improved for visitors and schoolchildren?
– How could the cultural offer of the town be extended through the seasons, what spaces/activities could support this?
– Are there any gaps in provision of social spaces for young people of different ages?

Economic Resilience (Maintaining a Thriving Economy) – Peter Murphy NP
– What types of employment space are needed over the next 15 years?
– What design guidance should the neighbourhood plan give for of the developers of employment space?
– How could development at Port Royal or improvements to the town centre or esplanade benefit economic resilience or development?

Sidmouth, Port Royal Redevelopment –Sophie Thompson CE
– What mix of uses would contribute to the vitality of the town centre?
– What are the important pedestrian and cycle links to the site, where could these be improved?
– What design guidance should be given to developers of this important site?


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Council chambers compared (continued) ..Would seating capacity be fit for purpose at proposed new Honiton HQ?

East Devon District Council plans to replace the existing capacious Council Chamber at Knowle, Sidmouth, with two smaller ones, at Exmouth in a renovated old Town Hall, and at Honiton Heathpark, respectively.

Following a close look at the seating provision in the proposed Exmouth Chamber ( ) , here is a bird’s eye view of the approved plans for Honiton:



There are apparently 49 seats available for councillors and officers in the new HQ plans.
Would the remaining councillors therefore sit in the front row with their backs to the public?
Is it reasonable to expect that a purpose built £11m chamber would be able to accommodate a full council meeting?

See also