Marina: 'good news for our businesses'

BUSINESS leaders in Sidmouth have officially come out in support of the proposed marina at Port Royal.

BUSINESS leaders in Sidmouth have officially come out in support of the proposed marina at Port Royal.Chris Taylor, Chairman of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, called it a 'golden opportunity' to enhance and redesign the eastern end of the town.Mr Taylor said: "Understandably there is some anxiety about what will happen there, as we have seen no plans yet, and planning permission will need to be granted, but it could potentially be of great benefit to Sidmouth."Often people do not like change but, if Sidmouth is to be a living and breathing town in the future, it cannot be preserved in aspic."Mr Taylor said the chamber had supported the plan from the start, when developer Rowan Carter approached local organisations to gauge support for his proposal. "If you go to any seaside town with a marina, there, are people visiting to look at it," he said."We have a good, diverse High Street, but small businesses are always being squeezed out by the big concerns and we cannot afford to remain static. "We must look to embrace any chance of an increase in trade we can get."The major shopping centres are always looking for a good attraction to bring more people to their shops and Sidmouth needs to do the same."He was sure any problems with increased traffic and car parking could be solved.Consultations have already been carried out between the developer and various Sidmouth groups to gauge levels of support for the off-shore marina.Vision Group Chair, Robert Crick, who last week called for their plans for Port Royal to be given the same consideration as Mr Carter's, said: "We are not surprised about the chamber of commerce is supporting the marina proposal, we have known this for 18 months."There is no doubt it could be of economic benefit to the town."Mr Crick said they could not formally support the marina until more detail was known and their concerns over a luxury residential development on public owned land and the marina being for the benefit of rich incomers remain.He added: "The devil is in the detail, which we have not seen yet."The marina will face a critical test when East Devon District Council's executive meets on January 31, when a negative response could effectively leave the plan dead in the water.EDDC has confirmed the Vision Group's views would also be considered at this meeting.Mr Carter has said, if the response from the executive is positive, a model and plan of his proposals would be put on display.

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