Stop this ribbon development

SIR - Tourism is the lifeblood of Sidmouth. People come here to escape from the hectic and aesthetically unpleasant urban and suburban areas where they live.

They are seeking peace and tranquillity in beautiful surroundings, and in Sidmouth that is exactly what they get, all the year round. So do we, as residents.

How can it be that East Devon District Council, our own district council, is trying its best to replicate the very conditions that the holidaymakers are fleeing from? Why will tourists continue to come here if all they are going to find is yet another soulless, urbanised area of ribbon development, traffic jams and industrial estates before they get anywhere near the town itself?

Where is the justification for this proposed desecration of the AONB and consequent destruction of the very industry that keeps Sidmouth alive? There is no need to encroach on the AONB in order to provide the small amount of further employment land that may (or probably may not) be needed. There is still sufficient brownfield space available for that.

Every time my husband and I came here as visitors, we marvelled at how the town had managed to retain its character. We were freelance travel writers and nowhere we had visited in England matched Sidmouth for enduring appeal.

We lived in the suburbs of a big city and revelled in the glorious rural surroundings of Sidmouth, as well as in the attractive and unchanging nature of the town itself. Having been born and raised here, I knew how little the essence of Sidmouth had changed over the years.

Now we have been lucky enough to move here, but suddenly, together with our fellow residents and business people, we find ourselves embroiled in a battle to defend this beautiful valley against those who, through personal greed, wish to destroy it for all time.

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This whole scheme is totally without justification and simply must not be allowed to take place.

We call on EDDC not only to listen to the residents of Sidmouth and East Devon, but actually to act in accordance with what they say, and to withdraw its destructive and unjustified plans forthwith.

Dee Matthews,

3 Ballard Grove, Sidford