Port Royal NOT for sale says EDDC

PUBLISHED: 16:03 16 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:46 18 June 2010

AN OFFER to buy the Port Royal area of Sidmouth s seafront has been knocked back by East Devon District Council, which says the site is not for sale.

AN OFFER to buy the Port Royal area of Sidmouth's seafront has been knocked back by East Devon District Council, which says the site is not for sale.

Last week Council Leader Sara Randall Johnson, leader of the council, said, during a discussion over the possible redevelopment of the site: "We are desperate for someone to buy this site and to give us good money for it."

EDDC's executive board decided it didn't have the manpower or money to further the project and agreed to review it in six months' time.

Her remarks led one local businessman to call the council offering to buy the site, which includes the Drill Hall.

"I have spoken to the council and they are not looking to sell it," said Ian Barlow who runs Sidmouth Garden Centre.

"I would love to buy it. When you are desperate it means it might be cheap," he said, adding: "I wouldn't put a car park on it!"

Mr Barlow said he spoke to a senior official at the council who had indicated it was not for sale.

"He said there was no truth in the rumour it was looking to sell it," said Mr Barlow, who says he was told it was likely EDDC would seek someone to develop the area in conjunction with the council at such time a development plan was put together.

This week EDDC issued a short statement explaining what Miss Randall Johnson meant by her comments.

"She was expressing her frustration about the impact of the property crash on our ambitions to take the Port Royal area forward and her comment should be seen in this light," said a spokeswoman.

"Any future disposal of this important part of Sidmouth would only take place after full consideration of the community's aspirations for the area.

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