£300k to boost Sidmouth tourism from Sanditon

Cathy Gardner outside Sanditon. Ref shs 07 19TI 0237. Picture: Terry Ife

Cathy Gardner outside Sanditon. Ref shs 07 19TI 0237. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A cash injection of £300,000 to boost tourism in Sidmouth is set to be released, prompting discussions on how it should be spent.

The town has been waiting for the Section 106 money to be released, following the sale of all of the Sanditon apartments on the site of the former Fortfield Hotel, which was destroyed by a fire in 2011.

Some £1.5million was collected from the development, with 80 per cent spent by East Devon District Council (EDDC) to provide affordable housing across the district.

District councillor Cathy Gardner has criticised the authority for the length of time it has taken to release the money and has called for clarity on how to apply for the community cash.

She said: “What’s the process? If £300,000 is available, then the town council and interested groups need to step forward and put some projects together. That money is supposed to compensate Sidmouth for the loss of the hotel.

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“It’s starting to sound like they are putting it off. We want that money, we should have it now, so lets pull our fingers out and make it happen.”

EDDC, which holds the money, says it is working with the Sidmouth Town Council.

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An EDDC spokesman said: “The town has clearly been in the news recently because of the ‘fatberg’ which has probably prompted the councillors to think about how the money could be used positively to promote Sidmouth.

“We propose to work with the town council to invite expressions of interest for the use of the money. Exmouth Town Council has generated a lot of local interest with their Dragons Den-type event inviting bids for the use of local community cash.”

Christopher Holland, town clerk, said the town council looked forward to working with EDDC to spend the funds, adding: “The next exciting project the councils will be working on is the renewal of The Ham play park using Section 106 monies from other developments.”

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