Keep the quality


- Credit: Archant

Unsurprisingly, given the very questionable decision making of (many of) its councillors coupled with the completely foolhardy, financially challenged proposal relating to The Knowle relocation and, furthermore the equally ridiculous employment land allocation proposed at Sidford for which there is virtually no vehicular access, let alone proven demand etc, etc, East Devon District Council has come in for a great deal of criticism over the period of time my wife and I have been lucky enough to live in this quite splendid, virtually unique, regency town.

However, credit where credit is due, most probably to the council planning team officers who deal with urban design.

The redvelopment of the former Fortfield hotel is a wonderful addition to the townscape.

In particular the elevational treatment blends in almost seemlessly with Fortfield Terrace and the immediate environs.

The completed building is a far cry from the wildly inappropriate, glass box proposal which set the redevelopment ball rolling several years back.

The eventual developer/builder can be quite proud of what it has done for Sidmouth.

Perhaps, therefore, we can still hope that the same officers will convince their council employers to pursue a similar, high quality refurbishment and limited extension of the existing, modern office accommodation at the Knowle.

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Those, like myself, who have spent a lifetime in commercial property will be fully aware that this path will not only be the most economically viable option in order to satisfy the future office needs of our district council, it will be by far the best result for council tax payers and the right outcome for the environment and the indigenous population because retention of (part) the employment use at the Knowle will remove the laughable justification for an alternative employment land allocation in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Bob Neale