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

Council marks time on old Drill Hall blueprint

06:00 03 June 2014

An aspiration for the first phase redevelopment of Sidmouth

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


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, 06:59
Eastleigh shed, 8 May 1959 (c) C Boocock

Enthusiasts have a unique opportunity to invest in part of Sidmouth’s rail heritage as a £300,000 locomotive restoration project has been put back on track.

Read more
Saturday, November 28, 2015
New Kennaway House manager, Nikki Dawkins, with Michael James, David Leach, Bryan Dawkins and Michael Gordon-Lee. Ref shs 4446-47-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

A new manager and chairman have taken the helm at a charity-run arts centre with a growing reputation in and beyond the Sid Valley.

Read more
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Betty Williams with Lamb and Flag landlord, Ron Miles, and Ottery mayor, Glyn Dobson. Ref sho 4475-52-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton

A widow, whose generous gesture to people facing Christmas alone last year touched hearts around the world, has spoken of her delight that preparations are under way for another festive feast.

Read more
Friday, November 27, 2015
An ariel view of the PegasusLife plans for Knowle.

A developer lined up to buy the East Devon District Council (EDDC) offices at Knowle has unveiled its vision for a retirement community on the site.

Read more
Friday, November 27, 2015
The Sidmouth Friends of the Samaritans held their AGM this week. Pictured are chairman Sue Kensdale with from left Ron Harbour (treasurer), vice chairman Gerald Hayne and Denis Jones (sec). Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 3446-08-14SH. To order your copy of this photograph go to

The loss of Sidmouth’s Samaritans support group will have a ‘major impact’ on the running of the service, says the leader of the charity’s Exeter, Mid and East Devon branch.

Read more
Friday, November 27, 2015
MP Hugo Swire visit the King's School this week where he is pictured meeting students in the Teen Health Group. Ref sho 7123-48-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Hugo Swire praised students for their ‘passionate determination’ to address important issues

Read more
Friday, November 27, 2015
Sally Neal has become Sidmouth's first female Crew Manager. Ref shs 7512-48-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A firefighter has made history after becoming the first woman in Sidmouth to reach the rank of crew manager.

Read more
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Plans have been lodged for Hillside House

A former hotel and restaurant in Newton Poppleford could be converted into a 13-bed care home.

Read more
Thursday, November 26, 2015

A temporary tariff of £2 per day will be introduced at Sidmouth’s town centre car parks next week.

Read more
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Natasha Koshti.

The Budleigh Salterton Committee for Cancer Research UK is holding an Evening In India on Saturday, November 28, at 7pm in the Public Hall.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 12°C

min temp: 12°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

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

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Find a job in Sidmouth

Find planning applications