‘Predictable’, ‘too big’, ‘great’ - reaction to Port Royal proposal

Graham Cooper with SDLA president Keith Simm

Graham Cooper with SDLA president Keith Simm - Credit: Archant

People have shared their first thoughts on proposals for Port Royal that could see it redeveloped with a five-storey building housing the existing facilities, a restaurant and up to 30 flats (see page 3).

Matt Booth

Matt Booth - Credit: Archant

Jeremy Woodward, of the Vision Group for Sidmouth, said: “I’m surprised they have come up with a concept proposal. They could have stopped at the strategy stage.

“I think most people are going to be quite taken aback with it. It dwarfs Trinity Court – people are going to say ‘no, no, no’.”

District councillor Matt Booth campaigned to save the Drill Hall and said he was pleased to see community uses included in the proposals, adding: “I think it’s great. The consultants have done a really good job and done what the councils asked.

“It’s a starting point that looks at the practicalities. It very clearly sets out what’s achievable and what isn’t.”

Jeremy Woodward has resigned as Vision Group secretary after five years

Jeremy Woodward has resigned as Vision Group secretary after five years - Credit: Archant

Graham Cooper has written a book on the potential and constraints of Port Royal that he submitted to an architecture competition last year.

He said: “I think what they’ve produced is entirely predictable and will have a lot of apartments.

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“Every aspect of Port Royal can be used by the public, but they are going to change that and create areas we can’t use – it will be given over to residential use. They will be holiday homes that will be empty half of the time, like Trinity Court.

“It would be better to build on what we’ve got, rather than continue the vicious cycle of expensive apartments funding developments we don’t want.”

He added that the development risked blocking many residents’ view of the sea.

Sidmouth Gig Club member Megan Rodgers, 30, said: “Five storeys seems too high – it might just dominate the whole of the promenade. It’s just too big. Being a young person, that housing is never going to be affordable for me.

“It would be really nice for the Drill Hall to be developed. It’s a wasted space.”

She said the residents would complain if the lifeboat was called out in the middle of the night, and questioned where traffic would go if the turning circle was pedestrianised.

What do you think of the proposals? Email stephen.sumner@archant.co.uk.

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