Eastern town claims ‘misleading’, say Tories

Sidmouth, Port Royal. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 0931-03-12AW

Sidmouth, Port Royal. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 0931-03-12AW - Credit: Archant

The ruling Conservative group at East Devon District Council (EDDC) has hit back at comments made by a Sidmouth representative over the future of the eastern town - branding them ‘naïve and misleading’.

Earlier this month, councillor Cathy Gardner warned that the authority’s proposals for social housing at Mill Street car park could ‘snowball’ into unwanted development at the seafront and Port Royal, unless residents voice their views.

But East Devon’s Tories have dismissed her claims, accusing her of trying to ‘make political capital out of the vital issue of providing homes for Sidmouth’s young families’.

In a statement on behalf of the EDDC Conservative Group, Councillor Phil Twiss said: “It’s all very well for ward representatives to genuinely stand up for what they see as the rights of their constituents.

“It’s quite another to say things that will mislead people into forming the wrong conclusions, especially when this is based on a poor understanding of how the planning process works.

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“Sidmouth must not be left behind. We want to see a number of improvements to help the town move forward and we will resist any attempt by people like Ms Gardner to hold Sidmouth back.”

East Devon Alliance member Cllr Gardner said last week she planned to launch a consultation to ask residents and businesses what they want to see built in the eastern town.

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But Cllr Twiss said this would only serve to ‘muddy the waters’ because EDDC would conduct its own consultation as part of the ‘normal democratic process’.

And he dismissed her claim there was a lack of progress in the town’s long-awaited beach management plan as ‘mischievous and untrue’.

EDDC’s policy in its draft Local Plan is to ‘promote a mixed-use redevelopment of the east end and Drill Hall site’.

The area has been earmarked for 30 homes.

Cllr Gardner told the Herald: “I have no doubt that affordable housing should form part of development in the eastern part of the town.

“As far as Cllr Twiss’s comments are concerned, I leave readers to draw their own conclusions, especially those that know me.”

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