Further to the letter in last week’s Herald, “Sound of protest”, I offer the following additional information.
A recent letter to the Herald recalled the decision of the Sidmouth Urban District Council to classify the grounds of the Knowle as a public open space.
The record of this decision is in the council minutes for July 1973, in the report of the finance committee meeting on July 20, under the heading “Adaptation of Knowle as Headquarters for the East Devon District Council”, and reads as follows: “The gardens and field, though technically held for the purposes of the Local Government Act 1933, have since acquisition been treated as open spaces to which the public have access.
“It will, moreover, be recalled that a principal reason for the acquisition of Knowle was to preserve the gardens and field as an amenity for the district.
“Members have suggested that this intention ought to be given legal effect. The best method would seem to be for the portion of the field and garden not required in connection with the above adaptations [referring to the buildings required by EDDC] to be appropriated for the purposes of section 164 of the Public Health Act 1875 (which relates to the provision of public walks or pleasure grounds), by a simple resolution of the council, and it would seem that no adjustment of the accounts would be necessary as both properties were financed out of general rate fund.”
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There follows a recommendation of the finance committee to put this into effect, which was duly adopted at the following full council meeting on July 24.
The phrase in square brackets is not part of the original, but added by me for clarification.
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