People ‘sleeping rough’ Sidmouth property- police

Officers say it appears the derelict Drill Hall on The Esplanade has been entered and slept in.

HOMELESS people appear to have been bedding down in a prime piece of Sidmouth seafront property, say police.

Officers said it appears the derelict Drill Hall on The Esplanade- which is key to the future redevelopment of the town’s eastern end- has been entered and slept in.

The town’s neighbourhood beat manager, PC Jim Tyrrell, told councillors there had been no official reports to police, but said: “We’ve visited the site. It does look like there have been some insecurities and people have been sleeping rough in there.”

Western Wessex Reserve Forces and Cadet Association, an umbrella organisation of the Ministry of Defence, has vowed to look into the matter and boost security if necessary. Councillor Simon Pollentine raised the issue when the town council met last Monday, but was quick to play down the level of concern.

“I know it’s not going to be the Fortfield (hotel) part two,” he said.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) will take ownership of the Drill Hall after work is completed on a new base for the town’s Army Cadets and Air Training Corps in Chambers Close, off Stowford Rise.

Most Read

The venue is considered to be a prime piece of real estate and crucial to any re-development of the Port Royal area.

An EDDC spokesperson told the Herald: “The future of the Drill Hall site will be considered as part of any future development scheme that may come forward for the area, but at the moment it is too early to speculate about what might happen.”