Revealed: Consultants’ conclusions on Port Royal
PUBLISHED: 12:30 02 February 2018
Recommendations to focus the regeneration of Port Royal on the Drill Hall go against the consultants’ conclusions.
East Devon District Council and Sidmouth Town Council paid £10,000 for a scoping study to assess the area’s potential for redevelopment.
Heynes Planning Ltd and Groupwest said renewal of the site was a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity but it was important to strike a balance between commercial reality and public benefit. Its findings included that:
There is a conveyance on the Ham saying it should forever be used as a place of recreation.
The Ham West car park could be redeveloped to provide parking at ground-floor level and other uses above, although the site sits within a flood zone. It is likely to be attractive to residential and car home developers and, possibly, hotel operators.
Sidmouth Lifeboat may wish to relocate in future to assist with boat launching, so a revamped HQ at Port Royal should be adaptable to attract another occupier. There is a desire for emergency parking spaces for the crew.
There is an opportunity to provide a multi-function community facility that can cater for the sailing club and other community groups.
A restaurant could attract a high-quality operator and would be a welcome addition to the town.
Residential development is an essential component of the concept and the homes will need parking spaces.
A single building could be provided incorporating the lifeboat station and sailing club. If the sailing club is incorporated, then additional land would be needed for boat storage.
The wet fish shop does not need a shoreline location so the premises could be demolished and used for boat storage.
The Esplanade could be pedestrianised east of its junction with Ham Lane to increase footfall and improve user experience.
A five-storey building would not be welcomed by the public but a significant reduction in the scale introduces deliverability issues.
The Drill Hall is valued by some members of the community but this did not come through strongly in the consultation event. Retaining the Drill Hall could seriously compromise the financial viability of a scheme on the site and a developer would be highly unlikely to want to fit a new build around it.
The consultants said if the councils are satisfied that a scheme can be delivered, they should see if developers are interested, then a masterplan for Port Royal could be drawn up.
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