Dire implications

Regarding the implications of the Knowle move.

At the last meeting of East Devon District Council’s executive board (July 17), Sidmouth councillors Christine Drew and Chris Wale spoke enthusiastically in support of the unanimous decision to move the council’s HQ from the Knowle.

Sadly, they don’t appear to have grasped the dire implications for our town and valley.

The relocation project, pursued by council leader Paul Diviani and his associates, can only be paid for by selling the Knowle and Manstone Depot to developers for housing.

In a futile attempt to “compensate” for this disastrous loss of “employment land” and jobs, a proposed 12.5 acre business park in the AONB at Sidford was slipped into the draft Local Plan at the last minute.

This was done by two council officers without public consultation or discussion, as the former chair of the Local Plan Panel confirmed recently.

If the business park goes ahead, the promoters of the scheme will be able to sell their existing site on the Alexandria Road industrial estate to a supermarket chain.

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It seems not to have occurred to our two representatives that a new supermarket here, combined with an extensive business/retail park at Sidford, would be a catastrophic double blow to Sidmouth’s iconic town centre businesses.

Tony Green

(via email)