Sidford Business Park: Council ‘very disappointed’ at planning inspector’s decision

A site layout showing the fixed layout of buildings for the proposed development at the site at Two

A site layout showing the fixed layout of buildings for the proposed development at the site at Two Bridges Road in Sidford. - Credit: Archant

The decision to overturn an appeal to build a multi-million pound business park has been called a ‘great shame’ and ‘very disappointing’ by the district council.

Councillor Mike Howe, chairman of East Devon District Council's development management committee, said the planning inspector's decision to allow the development which could lead to an increase in HGV's in the area.

His comments come after planning inspector Luke Fleming granted approval for a 8,445 sqm development at Two Bridges in Sidford following a three-day planning inquiry last month.

During the inquiry Mr Fleming heard from the district council, campaigners and the appellant about matters concerning highways, flooding and heritage.

In his decision notice published on Tuesday (August 20), Mr Fleming said there were 'significant benefits' which outweigh the effects and inconvenience of the increase in HGV traffic in the parishes.

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Cllr Howe said: "I am very disappointed that the Planning Inspector feels that it is appropriate to allow a significant element of B8 (Storage and Distribution) uses on the site leading to an increase in HGV's in the area.

"The other uses proposed for the site would not lead to HGV's using the roads and this is why the local plan allocation for the site limits the uses that can be accommodated. This decision goes against the Local Plan allocation and imposes the impact of additional HGV's on the local community when the Council was trying to avoid this.

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"It is a great shame that the Inspector did not agree with our concerns. I can only hope that our worst fears are not realised and the predicted accidents do not occur."

Councillor John Loudoun, district councillor for Sidmouth rural ward, said it was 'incredibly disappoint news'.

He said: "This is incredibly disappointing news for all those who live near to the planned Business park site and also for all those who live in and nearby to Sidford and Sidbury who, as a result of the Planning Inspector's decision, will have to put up with significant increases in traffic, particularly HGVs.

"If the county and district councils had originally effectively scrutinised and challenged this site being included in the Local Plan then this site would never, and should never, have been included in it.

"Ever since the site was allocated as employment land within the Local Plan everyone who has opposed the proposed plans to build the business park has effectively been fighting with one hand tied behind their backs.

"This is a sad day for local residents whose voices might have been heard, but they haven't been listened to."

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