£12m infrastructure plan for Sidmouth

Sidmouth College. Ref shs 8776-10-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn.

Sidmouth College. Ref shs 8776-10-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn. - Credit: Archant

Increased school capacity, a new gym and long-awaited travel improvements all feature in a £12million infrastructure programme for Sidmouth that will be up for debate next week.

Civic leaders have been asked to help update the district council’s infrastructure development plan (IDP), which sets out projects across East Devon up to 2031 worth more than £250million.

However, the report details how, of Sidmouth’s £12million total, there is an £11.4million funding shortfall to deliver it.

The document was first published in March 2015 and fed into the authority’s Local Plan, but needs regular reviews from key stakeholders. It sorts schemes into three priority levels.

‘Priority two’ projects – less critical than priority one, but necessary to meet the needs arising from the Local Plan – for Sidmouth include:

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? £700,000 to extend existing buildings at Sidmouth College to meet additional capacity needs. There was a funding gap of nearly £295,000.

? £500,000 to extend Sidmouth Primary School. The source of some £288,496 was yet to be identified.

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? The provision of 50 ‘extra care’ beds needs £8million. PegasusLife had proposed to deliver 113 such beds at Knowle in a £7.5million deal for East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) HQ, but its planning application was refused last month. The developer has yet to say if it will appeal.

‘Priority three’ projects for Sidmouth – those that improve quality of life and help build sustainable communities – include:

? A £600,000 masterplan for Port Royal. EDDC and Sidmouth Town Council are currently conducting a scoping study to assess the potential for redevelopment in the area.

? A £750,000 new fitness gym and studios in the town to address capacity, parking and access issues at the Primley Road sports centre.

? A cycle route linking Sidmouth to Feniton that will cost approximately £100,000 per kilometre. The route is around 16km. EDDC had only identified £12,000 in potential funding when the IDP was published.

? A £1million new access into the Alexandria Industrial Estate. Some town representatives have argued making full use of the site precludes the need for a new 12-acre business park outside Sidford.

? A new park and change facility close to the A3052 and existing bus routes will cost £500,000. The scheme aims to address parking issues in the town centre.

The IDP was created to support growth, rather than address existing deficiencies.

Schemes across East Devon were valued at £251.1million in March 2015. The IDP said there was a funding gap of £210.4million, and another £53million was needed for Devon-wide rural broadband.

Available cash sources include section 106 and the new community infrastructure levy, two payments made by developers. EDDC can also tap into funding from Government, other local authorities and private bodies.

Sidmouth Town Council will discuss the IDP when it meets on Monday.

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