Holiday holds up marina debate

There is to be a new round of consultations across the community on the proposed Sidmouth marina and the redevelopment of Port Royal.

There is to be a new round of consultations across the community on the proposed Sidmouth marina and the redevelopment of Port Royal.That was the decision of this week's meeting of the district council's executive, which deferred proposals by developer Rowan Carter because economy portfolio holder Peter Halse was away on holiday.But, in a significant, far-reaching move, it authorised corporate director Karime Hassan to meet Sidmouth Town Council and the Vision Group to ensure their views are incorporated and assessed into a revised report to go before its next meeting this month.The outcome was welcomed both by Mr Carter and by the Group."This is real progress and makes good sense," Mr Carter said. "The marina is a big thing for Sidmouth and, as we've always said, it needs careful consideration with no-one left out of the process."The Vision Group has already produced an excellent report and we are delighted the marina will be considered with its ideas."Vision Group chairman Robert Crick said the district council's "democratic and constructive" approach, while long overdue, was critical in moving forward any proposals for the redevelopment of such a key area."It is excellent news," he said. "It means the community is being consulted about the very future of Sidmouth."Councillor Graham Liverton, a member of the executive, also welcomed further consultation. He said the district council had no money to finance any redevelopment."So we have to look to private enterprise. But we cannot go on pussy footing around and do nothing. Port Royal is ripe for redevelopment and we have to bite the bullet. Sidmouth is a super, unique place and we have to have something that complements that. "It is therefore right the marina is given a proper and fair hearing. If it takes a long time so be it. But we have to keep up with the future."Councillor Stuart Hughes, giving his reaction, said everyone should be consulted on the issue, perhaps the biggest ever to face Sidmouth.l The marina website has registered 98 provisional bookings for a berth, 70 of them local. There had, by Thursday, been 54 positive comments and l5 negative. Martin Owen, the site administrator, said that, since it had hardly been advertised beyond the Herald, it was a staggering response.

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