Plaster disaster in Sidmouth High Street

Former stationers could be sold soon says owner after plaster chunk falls to pavement

THE owner of a former Sidmouth High Street stationers has carried out work to the building after a chunk of plaster fell onto the pavement.

Ron Endean was told of the risk of plaster falling from his property by East Devon District Council officers after a chunk fell off early on Saturday morning, January 8.

He says he is in the process of selling the premises and told the Herald: “I have a whole list of people interested in buying. I hope to sell this year, as soon as possible. It shouldn’t take too long now.”

He said EDDC was happy with the work he carried out following the plaster fall.

Officers were called by greengrocer Nigel Winchester after he witnessed the plaster disaster at around 8am.

EDDC staff cleared debris and coned off the pavement.

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Mr Winchester said: “A few big chunks, coming down from 30 feet, if someone had been there it would have knocked them out for sure.”

He called the council after realising more could fall.

“The building is in a massive state of disrepair. It is a lovely premises and would be a great asset to the town,” he said.

Judith Taylor, who helps husband Paul run Wayside greengrocers in Market Place, said: “I was driving down the street when a large piece of plaster fell down. I could hear it in my car and if anyone had been walking there it could have been nasty. If a small child had been there it could have been lethal.

“It certainly made me jump because of the noise it made. A lot of people walk in front of the building every day.

“It has been empty for a long time. To have a building like that on the High Street in that state is not a good thing for Sidmouth.”

An EDDC spokesman said its building control officers continually monitored the building and confirmed all requests to Mr Endean to carry out remedial works had been responded to.

He said the council responded to two complaints/notifications in 2010 and Mr Endean undertook remedial works to resolve the issues.

Regarding the recent plaster fall he added: “As soon as the risk was brought to his attention, he carried out the necessary work. At the first opportunity to inspect the property we found that the matter had been resolved.”

A number of spurious complaints have been received by disgruntled locals regarding the site, he added.

“However, whatever the nature of the enquiry we will always investigate and recommend appropriate action.

“The council has the power to protect the public by pointing out to the owner of a property that remedial work needs to be done.

“We only have the power to take direct action in an emergency situation. It is for the magistrates court to enforce any action to compel an owner to carry out work.”