Clarification needed over Port Royal 'sale'

PUBLISHED: 16:20 22 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:48 18 June 2010

CLARIFICATION is needed over remarks made, then revised, about East Devon District Council wanting to sell Port Royal, Sidmouth.

CLARIFICATION is needed over remarks made, then revised, about East Devon District Council wanting to sell Port Royal, Sidmouth.

Robert Crick, chairman of the Vision Group for Sidmouth told its Seafront Action Group on Wednesday he would be asking the leader of EDDC, Councillor Sara Randall Johnson, whether she has now withdrawn her challenge of March 3 for the Vision Group to find a buyer for the site.

During a recent meeting of its executive board, she said: "We are desperate for someone to buy this site and to give us good money for it."

However last week her remarks were explained as "frustration" over the impact of the property crash on any redevelopment of the site, after a local businessman was told Port Royal was not for sale after offering to buy it.

The action group is drawing up a list of questions to put to the next executive meeting on Wednesday, April 1.

It wants to know why Port Royal is not mentioned in the Local Development Framework.

The executive agreed in March to put on hold any redevelopment project for Port Royal, reviewing it in six months' time.

The group has been asking EDDC to produce a development brief for the area for a year, and, said members, it could offer expertise and find funds for this.

In 2006 the Vision Group produced its Vision for Sidmouth document, which, said secretary Jeremy Woodward, had been originally ignored at EDDC until officers indicated they were keen it should be converted into a Town Plan with involvement from Sidmouth Town Council.

Dr Michael Brittain said there was seed money to be had to further any revision of this document, which, according to the Local Government Act 2000, is money EDDC seems legally obliged to provide.

The executive will be asked for this money by the Vision Group "to fund a community partnership to develop the plans."

East Devon MP Hugo Swire will be copied in on the request and invited to meet the group.

*Mr Crick urged Vision Group members to attend the April 1 meeting, as proposals regarding Pennington Point erosion will be presented.

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