‘Give us more time’ over major Sidmouth proposals

Save Our Sidmouth group prepare for their mass. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6670-44-12AW. To ord

Save Our Sidmouth group prepare for their mass. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6670-44-12AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

A campaigner is urging district council chiefs to extend the consultation period on two applications with major implications for Sidmouth - so residents have time to respond.

There is less than a month to comment on separate plans for a business park north of the A3052 and for a 115-home retirement community at Knowle.

Richard Thurlow, who chairs the Sid Vale Association and Save Our Sidmouth, said both applications require close examination and feels the length of time is ‘inadequate’.

He has asked East Devon District Council (EDDC) to give the public and consultees time to respond and has also urged MP Hugo Swire to exert his influence.

The deadlines for comments on the Knowle and business park applications are June 3 and June 8, respectively, although later input will also be considered.

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Ed Freeman is EDDC’s service lead for planning. In an email to Mr Thurlow, he said: “I am sure you would agree that it is important that ourselves and the developers understand the concerns of the community early in the process, so that these can be fully considered and where possible addressed. It is therefore important that we have comments before these deadlines to enable this to happen - however, comments received after these dates will still be considered.

“I also have to be mindful of consistency with the periods given on other applications throughout the district. I am not therefore inclined to extend the consultation period even further than we already have.”

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Mr Thurlow told the Herald: “I think it’s totally ridiculous – both applications require far more time within the statutory requirements than EDDC are giving us. I think it’s scandalous and outrageous.

“We’ve accepted the inevitable that they are both included in the Local Plan, but we need to examine whether they are appropriate.

“It’s exceptionally mean-hearted of EDDC to put us in this position.”

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