Tuesday, May 20, 2014
A petition to force the renovation of a ‘blight’ on Sidmouth’s High Street is being drafted – and the author wants hoteliers, businesses, community groups and the town’s MP to sign it and put the pressure on.
Town councillor Graham Liverton is appealing for ‘every Tom, Dick and Harry’ to demonstrate the strength of feeling about the ‘disgraceful’ condition of the former SES stationer’s shop.
But his colleagues have cast doubt over any campaign’s success, saying that ‘the buck stops with the owner’.
“I’m appealing for Save our Sidmouth, the Sid Vale Association, the chamber of commerce – every Tom, Dick and Harry – to start petitioning about the disgraceful position it is in,” said Councillor Liverton at Monday’s town council meeting.
“I’m asking that we raise a petition in order to get something done – we have sympathised for long enough. It’s obscene, it’s vandalism of neglect. There’s one massive blight on the landscape and that’s SES.”
He has long lamented what could be a ‘wonderful’ building and said the council should look into the options available.
But council chairman John Hollick reiterated his sentiment from last month’s annual parish meeting, when the issue was last raised.
“Legally, as long as it’s deemed to be safe it belongs to the gentleman and it’s his property,” he said. “We are concerned about this but the buck stops with him.”
Work has been conducted when the state of the building has threatened public health, but the town council and East Devon District Council cannot force the owner to do any more.
Cllr Ian Barlow suggested reminding the owner how well presented the stationer’s shop was and how much of an asset to the town it used to be.
Cllr Stuart Hughes said a prospective buyer had approached Devon County Council but the purchase seems to have fallen through.
SES owner Ron Endean was not available for comment.
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