Sidmouth’s ‘unused and unattractive’ Drill Hall could become restaurant or bar

PUBLISHED: 06:30 03 February 2018

The Sidmouth Lifeboat station, sailing club and Drill Hall at Port Royal

The Sidmouth Lifeboat station, sailing club and Drill Hall at Port Royal


Sidmouth’s ‘unused and unattractive’ Drill Hall could be sold off to become a restaurant or bar as part of a scaled back vision for Port Royal.

Architect Alex Vick has created these images of how the revamped Drill Hall could lookArchitect Alex Vick has created these images of how the revamped Drill Hall could look

After a ‘clear lack’ of public support, a report to East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) cabinet recommends against building a five-storey mixed-use block with up to 30 flats.

A £10,000 scoping exercise for the area revealed an unforeseen flood risk and a restrictive covenant, and says the implementation timescale for the beach management plan is unclear. Providing ‘affordable’ housing has been deemed unviable, and the ‘more modest’ approach may mean the 30 homes allocated to the site in the Local Plan cannot be delivered.

The cabinet report says these ‘unresolved uncertainties’ mean Port Royal is ‘not a strategic priority’ for EDDC, but adds: “It is still important to find ways to make progress in improving what is still recognised to be an area of Sidmouth that detracts from the town’s otherwise attractive seafront. To this end, the redundant Drill Hall site remains a more straightforward and viable opportunity for redevelopment and reuse.

“To take this approach reflects the community’s views through consultation that we look after the existing and important active and community uses and find a new future for the vacant Drill Hall site that could create the sort of restaurant, bar or similar offer that people clearly wish to see in this spectacular location.”

Architect Alex Vick has created these images of how the revamped Drill Hall could lookArchitect Alex Vick has created these images of how the revamped Drill Hall could look

The Drill Hall is set to be marketed for six months.

The lifeboat station and the sailing club would be unaffected by the new proposals, while Sidmouth Town Council has been recommended to focus its attention on improving the fishermen’s sheds at the Ham. This could include promotion of the existing water activities and maritime heritage of the area.

The recommendations will need to be signed off when the town council meets in the Methodist Church Hall on Monday, and EDDC’s cabinet meets at Knowle on Wednesday.

Town councillor Jeff Turner said: “I believe the Sidmouth public will welcome the approach being recommended.

“It will provide opportunities for renewal of the Drill Hall site and, in particular, the possibility of our seafront benefitting from the new restaurant and bar attractions that emerged as popular choices in responses to the scoping study and the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan surveys.

“At the same time, both the lifeboat station and the sailing club and boat park will remain unaffected.”

District councillor Cathy Gardner, who led a campaign to retain, refurbish and reuse the existing buildings at Port Royal, said: “The news that EDDC is proposing to drop development plans for Port Royal is very welcome.

“It remains to be seen whether residents in Sidmouth will want to put together a bid for the Drill Hall because at the moment we don’t know whether it is the freehold or the leasehold that will be sold or the price being sought.

“I hope people will take the chance to attend both the Sidmouth Town Council meeting EDDC’s cabinet to ask questions and hear the discussion.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other News Stories

46 minutes ago

Do you know your Fore Street from your Old Fore Street? Take our quiz to see just how much you know about Sidmouth.

Read more

Internationally acclaimed young violinist to perform in Sidmouth

Read more
Yesterday, 17:33

Builders have been praised for ‘fantastic’ work that has led to the opening of the town’s main routes, two months after a major fire above the Pine Store.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:34

The public are invited to attend a meeting to reveal the results of a traffic survey.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:42

A pub giant has quashed rumours that it will be coming to Sidmouth.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:42

Dog walkers and passers by were treated to a rare sight as a seal was seen off Sidmouth beach.

Read more
Mon, 17:33

The national chain has issued a statement in regards to cleaning the street outside of its shop front.

Read more
Mon, 15:49

Figures obtained using a Freedom of Information request show that East Devon District Council has spent more than £200,000 on gagging orders over the past four years.

Read more
Mon, 12:31

Patients with a rare ulcerative condition are being treated faster thanks to ‘groundbreaking research’ by a former Sidmouth nurse.

Read more
Mon, 11:27

Children don’t have long to wait until they can enjoy new trampolines, zip wires, swings and roundabouts at three new Sid Valley play parks.

Read more

Local Weather

Heavy Showers

Heavy Showers

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 2°C

Most read

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

Newsletter Sign Up

Sidmouth Herald twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Find planning applications