Proposals submitted to demolish Sidmouth’s St John Ambulance Hall into apartments

St John Ambulance Hall in Sidmouth. Ref shs 1995-03-16SH. Photo Simon Horn

St John Ambulance Hall in Sidmouth. Ref shs 1995-03-16SH. Photo Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

An application to demolish and build 10 apartments on the site of Sidmouth’s St John Ambulance Hall has been submitted.

Applicant Lemma Limited has revealed its plans to knock down the 58 year old building to make way for 10, two bedroom flats and 10 parking spaces on the Blackmore Drive site.

If approved, the new development would measure two-and-a-half times more increasing from 354sqm to 904sqm to accommodate the units, on site parking and amenities.

The hall has been empty since October 2016 after St John Ambulance made a decision to close a number of its halls.

It was built by Alice Brown in 1960 in memory of her four year old son and as a new base for cadets in the town to replace their old HQ.

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In plans submitted to East Devon District Council, the applicant said: “The building has been extensively advertised and marketed, however, after nearly two years it is still no longer in use and sits empty. Although located close to the town centre, the building does not relate well to the nearby retail shopping area and has proved little or no interest to retailers.

“Therefore, we believe we are providing a residential development where people will want to live now and for the future.”

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Chartered surveyor Richard Heard said in the application there was a strong demand in the town for contained residential flats and apartments.

He said: “The provision of residential flats for one and two person occupancy is likely to free up larger houses and other residential accommodation more suitable for family use and provide a positive contribution to the housing market of the town.”

Under the proposals, eight of the apartments would be built in the south-west wing, with a maximum of three per floor - five of which would have a balcony with views of Blackmore Garden.

The remaining two units would be spread over two storeys due to existing buildings adjacent to the site.

A rear amenity or garden area will be introduced and will contain space for refuse containers, post and metre boxes, and a cycle store.

The proposals will be discussed by Sidmouth Town Council’s planning committee on Wednesday evening. EDDC will decide the fate of the application.

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