Charity rethinks shop in Sidmouth

15:08 12 December 2012

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A charity which started in the Sid Valley was last week forced to withdraw its application to open a shop in the town after a backlash from residents over the design.

Devon Air Ambulance (DAA) bosses are still hoping to move into the former Julian Graves shop in Church Street, but will be keeping the shop as it is.

They had applied to extend the frontage, straighten the windows and ensure it is structurally sound, but received complaints that doing so “would damage the character of this building and the lovely Sidmouth conservation area.”

A DAA spokesman said the shop would retain the marble, the leaded lights in the windows and protect the mosaic flooring, although the current dark green would become the blue of the charity’s livery.

One objection quoted the Sidmouth Conservation Survey 1975: “Strong colours and alien materials ... will be discouraged in favour of simple and traditional finishes.”

Heléna Holt, the chief executive of the DAA Trust, said: “We withdrew the application because of the strength of feeling from some parts of the community.

“We obviously don’t want to alienate our supporters.”

She added: “It is a shame as it means the shop will be less profitable as it will have less sales space than ideally we would have liked, which means less money raised towards our two air ambulances.

“However, we are going ahead because Sidmouth is a town we would very much like to be part of.”

She said the £170 will be lost, but it was a small sacrifice in avoiding upsetting those who would support the shop.

They hope to exchange the lease soon and open in late January – with no modification bar the sign.

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