Don't miss a story sign up to Sidmouth Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Council marks time on old Drill Hall blueprint

PUBLISHED: 06:00 03 June 2014

An aspiration for the first phase redevelopment of Sidmouth's Drill Hall. Image by Alex Vick.

An aspiration for the first phase redevelopment of Sidmouth's Drill Hall. Image by Alex Vick.

Archant

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save an historic Sidmouth venue look set to be given until at least next summer to come up with a ‘viable’ proposal.

An aspiration for Sidmouth's Drill Hall. Image by Alex Vick.An aspiration for Sidmouth's Drill Hall. Image by Alex Vick.

Friends of Sidmouth Drill Hall are looking to persuade owners East Devon District Council (EDDC) to grant them access alongside a fixed term ‘peppercorn rent’ that will see it used once again.

It is even hoped the 119-year-old premises could be ‘symbolically’ opened on August 4 for a public event to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the World War One.

The group feels it has made little progress with EDDC since the premises were given a stay of demolition in March last year.

“We’ve really got to start over again,” said Matt Booth, who leads the community interest company (CIC) behind the plan.

He hopes EDDC will give the group its blessing to pursue its plans for a ‘first stage’ of redevelopment.

“The CIC would then be in a position to look to raise an amount of investment to carry out an initial stage of redevelopment that would be easily recoupable,” said Mr Booth.

“This would mitigate any losses should a genuine proposal for redevelopment of the Port Royal area materialise.

“Were that to happen, the CIC would not oppose it so long as any plans were put to the people of Sidmouth.

“It has always been our position regeneration of the area should start with current assets and that it benefits no-one to maintain the situation as it has been for 20 years.

“A staged redevelopment of the Drill Hall, that would see it open and operational now, would populate and energise that part of the seafront, support Port Royal and the surrounding clubs, businesses and buildings, and inspire a number of new activities there that would benefit Sidmouth as a whole.”

Short and long-term visions for the hall have been drawn up by Sidmothian Alex Vick, who works for an architectural design firm in London.

An EDDC spokesman said: “The council’s view was that the ageing and ailing Drill Hall would be a hindrance to, rather than a positive feature of, a potential [Port Royal] redevelopment.

“We agreed to give Mr Booth time to investigate funding sources and come up with a convincing business plan. We resolved to wait for that plan to materialise.

“No time-scales were agreed but we knew it was possible he would need up to two years to seek and find the necessary financial backing.

“The opportunity for that business plan to be produced is ongoing. While this may take the outcome beyond May 2015, the only reason is to give the community group the time they need to make their proposals viable.”

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 06:30

A gifted and artistic Methodist minister, who penned the Herald’s Religion column for many years, will be remembered most of all for his unshakable faith. The Reverend Allan Bowers’ life was shaped from an early age by the church, the thrill of being in front on an audience and his love of painting.

Read more
Saturday, April 29, 2017

A new climbing wall has been officially opened at Ladram Bay Holiday Park.

Read more
Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lynette Talbot’s hard work and willingness to ‘get her hands dirty’ is recognised.

Read more
Saturday, April 29, 2017

A seaweed harvester from Sidmouth is feeling ‘quietly confident’ after being shortlisted to receive £100,000 worth of support from an organisation set up to help new food and drink businesses.

Read more
Friday, April 28, 2017

Lewis Jefferies hopes to one day promote conservation and sustainability.

Read more
Friday, April 28, 2017

RNLI lifeguards will return to East Devon’s beaches from Saturday (April 29) as patrols for the 2017 summer season get underway.

Read more
Friday, April 28, 2017

The owner of an Ottery sweet shop has thanked the community as she opened her doors for the final time,

Read more
Friday, April 28, 2017

Sidmouth’s Devon County Council hustings has been cancelled

Read more
Friday, April 28, 2017

The Countess of Wessex will be in attendance at this year’s Devon County Show.

Read more
Friday, April 28, 2017

‘Selfish’ 4x4 drivers ‘trashing’ the beautiful countryside surrounding Sidmouth could be threatening England’s first wild beavers in more than 300 years.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 8°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications