Drill hall bid

SIR - With reference to your article in last week’s Herald about the Drill Hall I would like to express our thanks for the many responses to the campaign so far.

We hope that we can keep these essential discussions going as a matter of some apparent urgency. We must continue to act. East Devon District Council say that there are currently “no plans” for the Drill Hall, yet in the minutes of the EDDC cabinet meeting of November 30, 2011 (item 136) a motion to push forward “as soon as possible” with demolition of the building was approved; “as soon as the council is in legal position to effect” it. So which is it? Plans or no plans?

Also in those minutes the cabinet outlined the Drill Hall “had been purchased for demolition as part of the wider planned redevelopment of the Port Royal area”. Plans that it would appear from our feedback so far are known by very few people in the town. To outline the objectives of this campaign we are requesting EDDC to:

1. Make available all surveys carried out on the state of the Sidmouth Drill Hall, and the reasons for it to be labelled a ‘condemned’ building.

2. Be openly transparent on all immediate and long-term plans for the Drill Hall and Port Royal.

3. Make available all documents, covenants and deeds in their possession on past and present ownership of the Sidmouth Drill Hall, and of the land on which the Drill Hall sits.

4. Make public any negotiations or discussions whether verbally or in writing between EDDC and any developers in relation to the future of the Drill Hall and the Port Royal land.

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We request that a stop to any plans for demolition of the Sidmouth Drill Hall be agreed for a period of at least six months within which an independent assessment of the building can be carried out, and, if appropriate, an alternative plan to its demolition be created that, if approved by a majority, will regenerate the building for the benefit of the wider community of Sidmouth now and in the future. This is in keeping with the recently passed Localism Act.

Thank you to everyone for the stories of the Drill Hall so far. Please keep them coming. Full information on the campaign can be found at www.sidmouthdrillhall.org. We ask people to please get in touch if they would like to be involved so that we might create a wider action group with representatives of all generations.

Our aim is to encourage an open consultation on the future of what is the last remaining land on the east side of Sidmouth seafront.

Please support this campaign. Please support Save Our Sidmouth (SOS). Act now before it is too late.

Matt Booth

Temple Street, Sidmouth