Parts of Knowle spared in Local Plan changes

The EDDC offices at Knowle in Sidmouth as it is today. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 7705-15-12SH To

The EDDC offices at Knowle in Sidmouth as it is today. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 7705-15-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

PARTS of Knowle will be spared from development after district council chiefs made changes to a controversial blueprint for the future of Sidmouth and East Devon.

Authority bosses told the Herald as it went to press yesterday that amendments to development boundaries, the draft Local Plan – including for their own HQ - were ‘small but important’.

Alterations mean Knowle’s lower parkland and lower car park – both earmarked for building in previously refused plans for the site – will be ommitted from future proposals.

The changes come after a final consultation on the 15-year planning document and will be presented to the council’s development management committee on Thursday, July 18.

The committee’s recommendations will then be put before full council on Wednesday, July 24, where members will decide whether the final draft of the Local Plan can be submitted to the Government for approval.

This will involve an independent public inquiry - likely to happen in the autumn - that will give the public a further opportunity to comment.

The highest profile change is a move which will ‘better protect’ parts of the Knowle campus from development, says the council.

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The lower parkland, known as Zone E in a rejected recent planning application, and the lower car park and parkland [Zone A] are now no longer included in the proposed boundary for any future development of the site.

Councillor Paul Diviani, leader of East Devon District Council, said: “The process has not been without controversy and we appreciate that planning issues stir deep and heartfelt emotions in many people. However, we have listened and I think we have responded reasonably to the concerns that have been raised about which parts of Knowle are suited to development.”

The final draft of the plan will shortly be available online via the council’s website for the public to view as part of the agenda papers for the July 18 meeting.