Ian’s ‘Teletubbies’ Sidmouth jobs idea

Bid to revive alternative employment site

A BUSINESS owner has revealed a “Teletubbies”-style alternative to derided proposals for a huge employment site on Sidmouth’s outskirts.

Ian Barlow and a farmer neighbour say an industrial estate can be “hidden” under green roofs and by the landscape on a stretch of their property - which runs along the A3052 from Sidmouth Garden Centre to opposite Waitrose.

Mr Barlow hopes proposals can be resurrected after they were rejected by East Devon District (EDDC) officers in favour of a plot between Sidford and Sidbury.

Both sites sit in the valley’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

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Protests this week took place over proposals to turn green land north of Sidford into a jobs hub of up to 13 acres.

A month-long public consultation on EDDC’s draft Local Plan was launched today.

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Garden centre owner Mr Barlow has echoed calls for the existing Alexandria Industrial Estate to be better utilised with improved access – and says Sidmouth “doesn’t need” five hectares of employment land.

“I think the vast majority of people don’t want that amount, but if we do have to have it, I feel this is where they want it. This is the sensible option,” he said.

“Concrete, tarmac and steel doesn’t blend in well with the AONB,” said Mr Barlow, speaking as an individual rather than as a town councillor.

“Rather than hurt the AONB, let’s see if we can do something in sympathy with it.

“Why not have green roofs and timber.”

He likened the ethos of any development as similar to children’s favourite the Teletubbies’ idyllic home setting.

Mr Barlow said the site he put forward, which totals five hectares including the garden centre, has direct access from the A3052 and that no homes would be directly affected by it.

He advocated only small developments – if a need is proven – and added: “Every single bit should be fought for and must have a social and economic benefit to the town and Sid Valley.

“If we have to have an area designated for employment use – it doesn’t mean it’s going to be used.”

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