EDDC budget �48k to demolish Sidmouth’s drill hall
Summer parking planned on Sidmouth’s drill hall site
THE former Drill Hall along Sidmouth’s seafront, will be demolished – at a cost of more than �48,000 – and the site used temporarily as a pay and display car park by next summer.
At a meeting of East Devon District Council’s cabinet last Wednesday, members agreed, says Councillor Stuart Hughes, to his suggestion that the site, once levelled, should not be left unused while plans for its re-development are produced and approved.
The cabinet was considering demolishing the drill hall and making it safe, creating a budget of �48,038 to do so, and whether to approve the marketing of the premises to let it on a short term lease.
“I suggested that it would be far better to turn the site into a temporary car park to address some of the shortfall of parking in Sidmouth rather than letting the site,” said Mr Hughes, who said the site was probably large enough for 30-40 cars.
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“The cabinet adopted this suggestion and so we can now look forward to additional parking next summer.
“This, I’m sure, will be well received by the Chamber of Commerce and other businesses in the town.”
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Mr Hughes said demolition of the hall was likely to take place before the end of the financial year next March.
Richard Eley, chairman of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, who attended EDDC’s cabinet meeting, said: “The Chamber will be pleased to learn that the Drill Hall site now belongs to the district council.
“This consolidates the Port Royal redevelopment area in the hands of the authorities, which is a necessary precursor to the comprehensive redesign of the area that most people see as desirable.
“It will be sad in a way to see the Drill Hall demolished as it has been a feature of the Esplanade for so long, but it is not particularly attractive or noteworthy, and it is widely acknowledged that the building had to go sooner rather than later.
“EDDC has indicated that nothing legally will happen for at least two years, allowing time for options to be explored and planning decisions resolved. This is eminently sensible, and suggests that the authority intends to take a calm and measured approach to the redevelopment of this highly sensitive and valuable site.
“This is welcome news for Sidmouth residents, who have been fearful of a behind-the-scenes and rushed deal.
“As ever, it is imperative that EDDC consults widely and shows maximum openness with regard to Port Royal. This is a wonderful opportunity and we must get it right.”