Renewed bid for second entrance to Alexandria Industrial Estate

Alexandria industrial estate at the Bulverton Park junction. Ref shs 5089-14-15TI. Picture: Terry If

Alexandria industrial estate at the Bulverton Park junction. Ref shs 5089-14-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The full potential of Alexandria Industrial Estate could be unlocked if a long-awaited second access route is finally added, according to Devon’s highways chief.

Councillor Stuart Hughes has vowed to ‘set the ball rolling’ on a new route off Bulverton Road now that East Devon District Council (EDDC) has given its backing to the idea.

Cllr Hughes said plans for a new junction stalled two years ago, but EDDC’s backing of a motion last week could pave the way for the compulsory purchase of a strip of land that has long-delayed the development.

“The only problem is we at Devon County Council (DCC) have limited budgets, however, I’m going to set the ball rolling,” said Cllr Hughes, who led a motion to withdraw 12 acres of employment land between Sidford and Sidbury from EDDC’s Local Plan.

The development document now says the authority will promote upgrading a new access into the Alexandria Industrial Estate to relieve Alexandria Road and Pathwhorlands from industrial traffic for the safety of residents.

Cllr Hughes said £30,000 was available two years ago to draw up plans for a Bulverton Road entrance to the estate, but the DCC money was lost as progress stalled.

“We’re two years down the line and back to square one, but now everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet,” he added.

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Cllr Hughes said only when the Alexandria site is fully occupied should plans for development north of the A3052, on land east of Sidmouth Garden Centre, be considered.

Once a new access route is drawn up, EDDC can pursue a compulsory purchase order for the privately-owned land.

Cllr Frances Newth told the meeting last week that the planning inspector had discounted the Alexandria Industrial Estate because of the ownership issues.

She said if these could be overcome, it could provide extra jobs in Sidmouth.

The development was welcomed by Save Our Sidmouth chairman Richard Thurlow, who said: “For the Alexandria estate to be developed to its fullest potential, a new access is needed from the Bulverton Road.

“This has been recognised for a long time. DCC’s latest involvement is to be welcomed.”

He added that the group is ‘totally against’ developing the Sidford site and the Sid Vale Association also opposes building work on the other piece of land north of the A3052.

Mr Thurlow said the need would first have to be proved, which has not been done.

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