Sunday, April 29, 2012
I write as a long-standing resident of Sidmouth who is deeply concerned about the proposed developments of sites in the Sid Valley.
These include the use of so-called employment land on an AONB between Sidford and Sidbury, the 20 houses proposed for the Port Royal area and the 50 houses to be built at Knowle and on its parkland.
All of these sites are an essential part of the Sid Valley’s environmental assets and unique character, assets appreciated by residents and visitors alike and reasons why they come here.
It has become increasingly obvious - at the town council meeting on March 19, at the public forum at Stowford Community Centre on April 13 and from the many letters published over the past weeks in the Sidmouth Herald - that there is considerable indignation felt by Sidmouth residents (and, we trust, by councillors) at the lack of information from East Devon District Council concerning proposed developments.
All we are told is that these are merely “proposals”, “nothing is set in stone”.
If this is the case why have 50 houses been earmarked to be built at Knowle? And where exactly are these to be built? And why has there been no mention of what is to happen to all the buildings currently used as EDDC offices? Wouldn’t it be simpler and more environmentally-friendly to renovate the existing offices?
Knowle is one of the few remaining public green areas of the town - a beautiful park with free weekend car-parking and a building serving as a much-needed venue for concerts, talks, meetings etc.
It is the duty of elected councillors to represent the views and wishes of the people who elect them.
We, the electors, need relevant information during the early stages of planning, not a public relations exercise when plans are at an advanced stage. And, on the matter of planning applications, it is surely a nonsense that EDDC should present their own plan to themselves for approval!
In relation to the proposed sale of Knowle and its public parks, it was stated at the town council meeting on March 19 that all the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal would be carefully weighed and considered.
Not at that meeting, nor at the subsequent forum on April 14, nor in any of the letters published in the Herald, has there been any instance of support by the public of this proposed sale and development.
Councillors, please take note.
Can anyone tell us what possible advantages to Sidmouth residents or visitors could result from the sale of one of the town’s great assets?
Is EDDC really intent on destroying some of the town’s finest assets?
Knowle Drive, Sidmouth