Neighbour feels ‘saddened by state’ of Sidmouth’s Knowle park

Ed Dolphin took these photos of 'neglect' at EDDC's Knowle HQ

Ed Dolphin took these photos of 'neglect' at EDDC's Knowle HQ - Credit: Archant

A Knowle neighbour has accused district chiefs of allowing the site’s parkland to go to ‘rack and ruin’ in anticipation of its sale to a developer.

Ed Dolphin took these photos of 'neglect' at EDDC's Knowle HQ

Ed Dolphin took these photos of 'neglect' at EDDC's Knowle HQ - Credit: Archant

Ed Dolphin said it could be months before the land is transferred to PegasusLife – and the green space entrusted to Sidmouth Town Council – but he claimed East Devon District Council (EDDC) is already ‘neglecting’ the gardens.

The authority has hit back and said the Knowle Drive resident should have contacted its customer services team rather than ‘complaining to the press’.

Mr Dolphin said: “I walk through the grounds most days and I am saddened to see the deterioration in the last 12 months.

“The gardens used to be one of the jewels in Sidmouth’s environment and of historical importance, but they are now in a sorry state.”

Ed Dolphin took these photos of 'neglect' at EDDC's Knowle HQ

Ed Dolphin took these photos of 'neglect' at EDDC's Knowle HQ - Credit: Archant


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A planning application is currently being considered to develop the site into a 115-home retirement community. Retired teacher Mr Dolphin said this is not a foregone conclusion - and fears delays will leave the gardens ‘almost beyond recovery’.

He added: “Reclamation will be difficult and expensive. The gardens are an important public asset entrusted to EDDC and those responsible for the maintenance should be doing their job while the gardens are under their stewardship.”

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An EDDC spokeswoman said Mr Dolphin’s complaint was in ‘stark contrast’ with the many compliments Knowle receives – but since 2010 the authority has been given less funding, so its maintenance has been scaled back. She said: “The council will happily look into the concern expressed – but to suggest neglect or that ‘the gardens will be almost beyond recovery’ is just not true.

“The council has been and will in the future be discussing with Sidmouth Town Council the opportunity to transfer the remaining park. This would happen at the same time as EDDC vacates Knowle.”

Ed Dolphin is 'saddened' by the state of Knowle's gardens

Ed Dolphin is 'saddened' by the state of Knowle's gardens - Credit: Archant

The spokeswoman said residents should contact EDDC’s customer services team to sort it out, adding: “If the correspondent had done that rather than complaining to the press, then we could have dealt with their concern directly.”

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