Port Royal: 'Our views are vital'
THE redevelopment of Port Royal, described last week as a key area of blight, should be given the same consideration as plans for a marina, the Vision Group insisted this week.
THE redevelopment of Port Royal, described last week as a key area of blight, should be given the same consideration as plans for a marina, the Vision Group insisted this week.The point was pressed home to East Devon District Council on Monday when a delegation met principal planning officer Matt Dickins.Support for a 185-berth marina is due to be tested by the council's executive on January 31. Now the Vision Group, in a demand for parity, wants its proposals for the site run past the same meeting."It seems wrong the proposals of a private developer should take precedence over those canvassed through extensive public consultation," said chairman Robert Crick. "Ours have been with the council for well over a year. Yet, while meetings have been held with officers on the marina, the only response we have had is that they have been too busy to read our report which has been very positively received by our MP, Hugo Swire, and by other elected representatives."Mr Dickins agreed to put the group's parity request before Karime Hassan, the council's corporate director for environment. Meanwhile, the group's brief to the council insisted that a very large part of any redevelopment of Port Royal must be for community use."Specifically, this site cannot be sold off for residential development," it stated. "Sidmouth does not need or want another block of flats."The 'condition' was framed in a package of proposals applauded at a well-attended meeting of the group when it was presented by Richard Eley, chairman of a sub committee set up to consider proposals for the area following public consultation.It also stated redevelopment should be comprehensive, not piecemeal, and that the site should retain both the Inshore Rescue Station and The Ham as a permanent recreational open space.Development could not be undertaken without an integrated parking and traffic solution. Furthermore, pedestrianisation of the Esplanade, east of Ham Lane, was likely while a new building, perhaps four or five storeys high, must respect the building line and be of the highest quality.Crucially, said Mr Eley, the site was effectively in public ownership, making delivery of a scheme achievable rather than a pipedream."We believe it represents the last great chance Sidmouth has to achieve a reorganisation of some of its vital public services."Also in the group's Action Plan presented to Mr Dickins were proposals on the protection of Salcombe Cliffs, a Park and Ride scheme, affordable housing wherever possible, a parking ban in Fore Street, partial pedestrianisation of the town centre, extension of a footpath from Sidford to Sidbury, waste disposal and recycling.These will be incorporated into the council's Local Government Framework, which helps chart future development.