Protest petitions handed to EDDC
Two separate petitions containing thousands of signatures were handed to council bosses last week (Thursday) in protest against development plans in Sidmouth.
Two separate petitions containing thousands of signatures were handed to council bosses last week in protest against development plans in Sidmouth.
Cllr Mark Williamson, chair of East Devon District Council’s planning group, accepted the documents given to him by Save our Sidmouth (SOS) campaigners and by Mike Temple, whose protest opposes the sale of the Knowle.
Both petitions reject aspects of the Draft Local Plan which sets out the framework for employment and housing in the town for the next 15 years.
Its controversial provisions include the setting aside of five hectares of employment land within the Area of Outstanding Beauty at Sidford and space for 150 new homes at the Knowle and Port Royal.
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Alan Darrant, speaking on behalf of the SOS group, which collected 3500 signatures, said the plan had “touched a nerve” with the majority of local people- who did not want the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty destroyed without good reason.
He said East Devon District Council had provided no evidence that the homes and jobs were justified and instead had “plucked numbers out of the air”, using a “back to front approach”.
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The council’s plans are vague and constantly changing and it “does not know what it is consulting on”, he added.
His comments were backed up by Steven Kendall-Torry, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, who reiterated that the “facts and figures did not add up”.
Mike Temple’s 480-signature petition, which was presented at the same time, opposes EDDC’s possible vacation of Knowle and the knock-on effects for employment and housing it would create.
Cllr Williamson said that the 15-year local plan was necessarily speculative, would include “possibilities as well as probabilities”, and many of which “would not happen”.
He added that no decision has yet been made on the sale of the Knowle or EDDC’s relocation to Honition.