‘Magnificent and pleasing’ vision now in danger

SIR - Walk onto the terrace at East Devon District Council headquarters at the Knowle and look down the grand view.

See your eye drawn though the parkland, past the iconic church tower and on to the sea, without seeing the built-up clutter of the town.

That is the vision handed down to us by the creators of the Knowle, magnificent and pleasing. It is the ideal setting to reflect the importance of EDDC when it received the site from Sidmouth, whilst undertaking to preserve it.

Compare that with the proposed vision: a faceless, modern-build office block overlooking car parks and trading estate blocks. Is that how EDDC perceives itself?

There is no vision about how to harness renewables on the existing site, no vision of how to streamline and enhance the way things are run today - all dismissed out of hand with ridiculous pricings. The vision is to slash and burn - turn every plot it can into building land and hope to grab enough money to finance their project to the detriment of Sidmouth.

Many thousands have signed petitions. If that many are ‘the same old people’ as described by the council then democracy counts for nothing. EDDC is determined to ignore them and look for someone who agrees with it. The simplest explanation is the right one - the EDDC vision has very little support but it does have a lot of opposition: from residents, from professionals, from visitors and it has even succeeded in persuading disparate local forces to unite to oppose that vision.

Well, councillors, unifying your own party into opposition might be a form of success, but it might not be what one would want to be remembered for.

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Fortunately, the thing about visions is that they don’t cost much to change; if you change them early enough - like right now. And that can be announced as a triumph. Now that is vision. But is it too big a vision for the EDDC to grasp?

G Mossop

Knowle Drive, Sidmouth