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.

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

16:24

Sid Valley residents are being warned to be on their guard against fraudsters claiming to offer a discount or rebate on council tax.

Read more
12:36

Police are appealing for information after a ‘suspicious man’ approached a young woman waiting for a bus by the mini-roundabout in Newton Poppleford to ask for directions.

Read more
11:04
Ian Hartnell of the P4 Drivers Guild Devon hands over a cheque to John Fowler and Phil Shepperd of the Sidmouth lifeboat. Ref shs 2544-34-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

A show of classic British cars netted £1,000 for Sidmouth Lifeboat - and the petrolheads were eager to learn about its new tractor.

Read more
07:34
Straightgate Farm, Ottery St Mary. Ref sho 7761-07-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton

The public will have chance to express their views on sites earmarked for extraction of minerals across Devon as part of a 12-week consultation.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:34
County Hall in Exeter.

District leaders could form part of a ‘unified front’ alongside other South West authorities in a move that would see the region gain more independence from Westminster.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:58

Doctors in East Devon are urging people to put a few extra things on their shopping lists ahead of the weekend.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:07
Sidmouth Fire Station in Woolbrook Road

The fire service is issuing urgent advice to boat owners along the Jurassic Coast about the proper disposal of out-of-date flares.

Read more
Wed, 12:16
Blogger and designer Miles Wharton was named one of the best dressed men in Australia.

A fashionista from Sidmouth is giving David Beckham and Colin Firth a run for their money in the style stakes.

Read more
Wed, 10:48

After Great Britain’s record medal haul at the recent FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, where 14 medals (seven of them gold) were won by the GB squad across swimming and diving, this is your chance to take the plunge.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 13°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

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

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition


Devon's trusted business finder