Developer sizes up huge Sidmouth plot

A DEVELOPER has again sized up a huge piece of Sidmouth land- big enough for hundreds of homes- prompting fears a town beauty spot could be “wiped out.”

A DEVELOPER has again sized up a huge piece of Sidmouth land - big enough for hundreds of homes - prompting fears a town beauty spot could be “wiped out”.

Persimmon Homes has admitted carrying out more investigative work on a massive plot it owns at Higher Woolbrook Park- opposite a ‘smaller’ site where 103 dwellings are currently being built by the firm.

Sid Vale Association (SVA) leaders this week expressed their concern over the potential of another development in the town’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and warned: “Once lost it cannot be replaced.”

Residents who live near the land, stretching south from Greenway Lane down the B3176 to Bulverton, say they’ve spoken to surveyors at the site acting on behalf a developer - and claim they were told preparatory work was being undertaken for a planning application.

Persimmon yesterday said it was “updating its records” and the information will be “reviewed in due course.”

Outgoing SVA chairman, Handel Bennett raised the issue at the organisation’s annual general meeting and said: “The area would accommodate hundreds of houses and wipe out a very large area of countryside.”

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The Herald reported in October how the site was put forward during a district council probe into areas available for development. It was estimated the land could accommodate 257 homes.

A Persimmon spokesperson said: “We have been updating the records and information relating to our long-term strategic land in Sidmouth. This information will be held by us and reviewed in due course.”

It is the second time in a year residents have spotted experts carrying out work at the site.

One householder was told plans could be submitted within weeks in September.

Persimmon’s managing director, Simon Perks, said at the time talk of new proposals was “tentative” at most.