Amended plans in for ‘dilapidated’ SES

The former SES stationery shop of Sidmouth. Ref shs 7145-42-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton

The former SES stationery shop of Sidmouth. Ref shs 7145-42-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Revised plans are in for a ‘dilapidated’ building that will keep it truer to its current layout after concerns were raised by a conservation officer.

The proposed shop front and internal layout of the former SES building have been amended for approval by the district council.

After a decade unoccupied, walls, floors, windows and the roof on the 140-year-old High Street property all need to be replaced, but building work is yet to get properly underway.

The original plans to renovate it were described as ‘long overdue’ and were unanimously supported by Sidmouth Town Council in October last year.

But in March the new owner spoke – on the condition of anonymity – of how his ambitious bid had faced resistance from an East Devon District Council (EDDC) conservation officer, who had objected to the use of plastic windows.

He bought the property last August and said the amount of work needed was ‘vast’, and that instead of being encouraged, he was hitting ‘ridiculous stumbling blocks’.

Chartered surveyor Richard Heard said the amendments had been made to the plan to suit the officer.

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The revised plans keep the door in the same place, whereas originally it had been proposed to move it further towards Potburys, as it had historically been.

A three-storey side extension between the two shops has been reduced to a single-storey, with a proposed door removed, and Mr Heard said the upper floors will be one flat rather than two.

The revised application was unanimously supported by town councillors when it was considered at Wednesday’s planning committee meeting.

Councillor John Dyson said: “The changes to the shop front have been greatly reduced and aren’t dissimilar to the existing front.

“There isn’t such a great monstrosity lift shaft up the side, which will be helpful.”

Cllr Graham Liverton said: “This needs to be got on with as soon as possible. It’s in such a dilapidated state. The sooner it gets going the better for all – it’s letting the town down.”

EDDC will decide the fate of the application.

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