New business park plan is unveiled
PUBLISHED: 13:30 18 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:18 21 May 2018
Fresh plans for a multi-million pound business park at Sidford - which aims to create 250 full-time jobs - have been revealed.
Applicant Tim Ford spoke exclusively to the Herald this week about the scheme, which is more than 60 per cent smaller than a previous application for a site at Two Bridges Road.
If approved, the businessman is set to invest an initial £3million to create the first set of buildings, as well as hedgerow, highway, cycle path, footway and flood attenuation works.
The outline application made to East Devon District Council (EDDC) seeks to change the use of the land and provide 8,445sqm - about two acres - of new floorspace, compared to the 22,800sqm proposed before.
Mr Ford said Sidmouth needed new employment space as areas such as the Alexandria Estate were full. He added: “It was a big decision to make [to reduce the size of the application]. This is an investment for 20-30 years - that’s the way I look at. Now it’s a case we have got to have employment in Sidmouth. We have got businesses in Sidmouth that would like to expand.
“I was very naïve eight years ago - I thought this is employment, this is good. I think the end result is something that is really smart and we will be proud of.”
The new proposals are 37 per cent of the size of an application rejected by EDDC in 2016 and would be a single-phase development on a plot owned by the applicant.
The site is allocated as employment land and its development for such use is supported in principle by the East Devon Local Plan.
The units will be in a fixed layout and one of eight types varying in quantity and size aimed at small- and medium-sized micro-businesses. The scheme will be split into 60 per cent office or light industry use, 30 per cent for storage and distribution, and 10 per cent for other employment uses, excluding retail.
Joseph Marchant, planning consultant for the project, said the level of investment offered would be something a council would struggle financially to deliver. He added: “It represents a lot of investment. To get these works done, to get the cycle way in and the roads in alone - and perhaps the first load of buildings - you’re looking, to just open the site, at about £3million.”
A public consultation is open until June 15. EDDC will decide the fate of the application.