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First major evidence to shape future of Sid Valley

PUBLISHED: 16:59 09 November 2016

The Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan logo

The Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan logo

Archant

Unique character, beauty and a strong sense of community are among the Sid Valley’s most celebrated assets, according to a study seeking to safeguard them.

More than 1,100 people responded to a survey that will help inform the nature of future development in the parish. A report, published last week, on the plan’s first household questionnaire highlights key concerns – including a perceived lack of affordable housing and traffic problems.

The findings will feed into a £46,000 community-led project to create a Neighbourhood Plan that will help shape Sidmouth, Sidbury, Sidford and Salcombe Regis for the next 20 years and beyond.

Many respondents to the survey outlined a 21st century vision for the town that addresses the needs of younger people – a group that the report states is ‘significantly underrepresented’. Only seven per cent of responses came from people in the 18 - 40 age bracket.

Chairman of the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan steering group Dee Hounsom said: “This report is our first piece of evidence to help shape the plan. “One of the recurring themes is there are not enough houses for young people. The Neighbourhood Plan is about housing – identifying needs – and protecting our green spaces and amenities.”

She added that the group has decided to commission a housing study for the Sid Valley in order to respond to concerns and ensure needs are met.

Once adopted, the Neighbourhood Plan will carry legal weight and can include policies to safeguard the character of the town, or ensure there is adequate provision of ‘affordable’ homes.

The natural environment and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is considered the top Sid Valley asset – with 20.2 per cent of respondents identifying it as their first priority. The seafront and cliffs gained 11.5 per cent of the ‘most liked’ vote.

Traffic – including problems with speeding and parking – was identified as the worst thing about the Sid Valley by 16.3 per cent of respondents.

East Devon District Council also ranked high on the list of dislikes, with 9.5 per cent of answers singling out the authority for a perceived lack of transparency, consultation and democratic processes.

The regeneration of Port Royal was a key issue for many respondents and will now feature on a second residents’ questionnaire with the hope feedback will be taken into account in a current town and district council-led scoping study on the development of Sidmouth’s eastern town.

Lack of a dedicated folk club, elderly drivers, conservative views, seagulls and second homes all feature on the list of dislikes.

To find out more about the Neighbourhood Plan and to read the full report, visit: www.sidmouth.gov.uk

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