Plan would ruin resort's upmarket image'

PUBLISHED: 13:07 05 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:39 17 June 2010

THE conversion of Sidmouth s Dove Inn into an adult amusement centre has been criticised after objectors claimed it would ruin the resort's upmarket image.

THE conversion of Sidmouth's Dove Inn into an adult amusement centre has been criticised after objectors claimed it would ruin the resort's upmarket image.

The owners of the site have submitted proposals to district planners to convert the ground floor of the former pub, on the corner of Dove Lane and Fore Street, into the centre.

Currently, the upstairs is being converted into flats and bed sits while downstairs would be an adult gaming centre.

Former long-standing councillor and Esplanade resident John Govier said: "I am very much against it.

"This application cuts right across the image of Sidmouth we want to portray.

"Sidmouth is an upmarket regency town - one of the few, if not last, unspoilt resorts of this nature in the country.

"We have worked hard to retain the image and we don't want it spoilt. Sidmouth is unique and we have worked hard over the years to retain the standards. This is not the kind of business we want in the town.

"We don't want this arcade with slot machines in the Dove pub or anywhere else in the town for that matter."

Stuart Hughes, chairman of town council's tourism committee, also aired concerns, while Mark Seward of the chamber of commerce and the Rev Handel Bennett of the Sid Vale Association said that it would be discussed with their members.

Roger Etchells, the agent for the applicant, said: "On the evidence of the hundreds of such establishments that are now operating up and down the country, it is apparent that premises of this kind do not give rise to noise and disturbance or to gatherings of anti-social behaviour.

"... the proposal, would be particularly inoffensive, particularly compared with the previous public house use."

He added that it would be very different from the typical seaside amusement arcade - alluding to concerns that Sidmouth was a different kind of resort - because it had a low-key frontage and not the garish flashing lights of the traditional seaside arcade.

It was also pointed out that it didn't have noise amusement only equipment and that the trade would come primarily from local residents - as opposed to family groups, holidaymakers and young people.

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