Campaigners welcome rejection of Sidford Business Park but vow to not go away

John Loudoun, Marianne Rixson, Sue Dyson and Keith Hudson gave an update on the campaign at their la

John Loudoun, Marianne Rixson, Sue Dyson and Keith Hudson gave an update on the campaign at their latest meeting. Picture: Beth Sharp - Credit: Archant

Campaigners have welcomed the decision to reject the Sidford Business Park proposal but said they will not be going away.

Last week East Devon District Council (EDDC) announced the controversial plans would not go before its development management committee and that it had thrown them out for a second time.

Council chiefs rejected the scheme for the Two Bridges site, saying it would be of a ‘detriment to highway safety’ due to the increase in HGV traffic in an inadequate road.

John Loudoun, of Say No To Sidford Business Park Campaign, welcomed the decision but slammed the council for only refusing it on account of ‘highway grounds’.

The plans, which included 8,445sqm of employment floor space on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), received 255 comments of objection and 111 in support. The campaign group has submitted a petition to the council with 1,400 signatures opposing the plans. It was due to be presented to a councillor publicly on Tuesday, but this has since been cancelled.

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John said: “Whilst we welcome the decision we have concerns that it was solely refused on highways grounds. We are surprised and disappointed that the district council has said that there is a need for local employment land and that this site is the best location for that. We recall that the authority, having placed the site in the local plan a couple of years ago, then tried to remove it. That doesn’t demonstrate its support for this site. The applicants could now take the decision to appeal which would mean that all of this would carry on for another six to nine months.”

He said until the applicant ends attempts to build a business park on the site, the campaign will do all it can to ‘reflect the clear views of local residents’.

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An EDDC spokeswoman said: “The county council presented a strong objection to the proposal, which in the opinion of EDDC justified refusal. All other aspects of the application were considered to be in line with the local plan allocation or otherwise resolvable through the use of planning conditions. The local plan inspector found there is a need for the site and it is the best site available. His findings were accepted by the council when the local plan was adopted.”

Applicant Tim Ford has been approached for comment.

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