Campaigner in bid to get the Knowle listed

A SIDMOUTH man has launched a bid to “throw a spanner in the works” of East Devon District Council’s proposed relocation from the Knowle to Honiton.

Temple Street resident Jeremy Woodward wants to make an application to English Heritage to protect the building and its grounds from being redeveloped.

He says obtaining listed status for both will prevent Sidmouth “losing an important part of its history”.

EDDC bosses this week maintained that the authority was investigating a move in the “best interests” of all its constituents.

Mr Woodward, a Vision Group for Sidmouth member, has appealed for information and documents about the Knowle’s history as part of his application.

He told a Save Our Sidmouth public meeting last week: “This could prevent the district council from moving at all. The more facts we can give English Heritage the better.”

An EDDC spokesman said: “It’s disappointing that someone would wish to derail a project that has been mounted with the best interests of all East Devon residents in mind.

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“EDDC has consistently kept council tax low and has been able to maintain front-line services in these straitened times. In common with councils all over the country, we are under continuing pressure to cut costs still further while holding down council tax.”

The council claims that relocating to a purpose-built alternative elsewhere could save the council and the community money, and be a more sustainable model for the future.

The spokesman added that EDDC continues to seek adaptations which could keep its Knowle offices in their current use, and stressed the authority’s commitment to ensuring a “significant” amount of public space remains on the site.

Nearby residents remain sceptical, however – among them Robin Fuller, 62, of Knowle Drive.

He said he was backing Mr Woodward’s application to English Heritage as he felt the council risked “destroying” the historic character of the town, its “green and leafy approach” and some of its “best trees”.