MP Sir Hugo Swire opposes plans for new business park at Sidford
PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 August 2018
Sidmouth’s MP Sir Hugo Swire has openly opposed a multi-million pound plan for a business park at Sidford, backing campaigners.
Hundreds of people have lodged objections against the controversial application to create 8,445 sq m of employment floor space at the Two Bridges site.
The plans, which could create 250 jobs, represents 37 per cent of what was previously proposed and submitted to East Devon District Council (EDDC) in 2016.
Sir Hugo has hit out at the plans and raised concerns, slamming it as an ‘unwanted development in the wrong place’.
In a letter to East Devon District Council’s leader Councillor Ian Thomas, Sir Hugo said: “We have already seen Sidford absorbed by Sidmouth. It was because of this that I objected to a proposal for a cycle path between Sidford and Sidbury as I believed it would not be long before someone insisted on an illuminated path which could lead to gradual urbanisation between the two.
“Likewise, it seems to me to build a business park between Sidford and Sidbury, albeit nearer to Sidford, is an unwanted development in the wrong place.
“You will be familiar with the well-rehearsed arguments both for and against but I cannot see how this proposed development would do anything but detract from the area and to lead to more congestion and pollution on what is an already overused road.
“Equally I cannot see why the Alexandria Business Park could not be properly redeveloped to accommodate any need for new light industrial space.”
Sir Hugo then urged the council to turn the ‘unwanted’ planning application down.
Say No to Sidford Business Park campaigners held a protest last week that was attended by more than 80 people.
Petitioners have also been going door-to-door to gauge people’s views.
A Say No to Sidford Business Park spokesman said: “Obviously we welcome the position taken by Sir Hugo on what is a very important issue for local people. On this matter, we feel he has got it completely right.”
When the Herald went to press, EDDC had received 368 comments about the application, 254 of which were objections and 111 of which were in support.