Campaigners spend £32,000 fighting future vision

17:30 24 June 2014

Protesters make their way along Sidmouth seafront on Saturday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 9494-45-12SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on MyPhotos24.

Protesters make their way along Sidmouth seafront on Saturday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 9494-45-12SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on MyPhotos24.

Archant

A CAMPAIGN group fighting controversial plans for the future of the Sid Valley has spent more than £32,000 in its efforts so far.

Save Our Sidmouth (SOS) has reassured residents it is ‘still active’ and continuing its battle against proposals for Knowle and the district council’s Local Plan.

The group – members of which include the chamber of commerce, Sid Vale Association (SVA) and Vision Group for Sidmouth – was formed in 2012.

It played a huge part in organising a 4,000-strong march on the East Devon council’s HQ.

The public contributed more than £13,000 towards a ‘fighting fund’ that was match-funded by the SVA, which also contributed an extra £5,000.

This allowed for more than £32,000 to be spent on professional expertise and publicity.

The income and expenditure have been independently audited, said SOS chairman Richard Thurlow.

He added: “SOS has benefited from widespread public support for our campaign - by displaying posters, writing letters, attending public meetings and demonstrations and district council meetings.

“SOS has paid for a professional planning advocate who prepared rebuttals of EDDC’s case, both on the Knowle and the Local Plan. These helped to inform the several thousand comments submitted by the public. Our consultant attended the public examination of the Local Plan and forcefully argued our case.”

SOS is opposed to East Devon District Council’s current plans to relocate from Knowle to SkyPark near Exeter and sell the site.

More than £705,000 of taxpayers’ cash has been spent or budgeted to the project to date.

The campaign group is also fighting the authority’s Local Plan – in which it is proposed five hectares of land in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Sidford is allocated for a five hectare employment site.

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