‘Save our parkland’ over Knowle

Residents fear for green space over mooted EDDC move

RESIDENTS have pleaded for a popular piece of public parkland to be spared from the potential development of Knowle.

The deputy chief executive of East Devon District Council (EDDC) this week said he was not aware of any protection orders on trees at the valued space.

Richard Cohen told householders and civic leaders at an extraordinary meeting of Sidmouth Town Council that around 50 dwellings and a care home were possibilities at Knowle should the authority choose to relocate to Honiton.

Responding to a string of residents’ questions about the headquarters’ “beautiful” green land on Monday, Mr Cohen said it is not yet known which parts of the site could be built on.

He added: “We haven’t drawn a line around anything yet. I would like there to be retained parkland – it’s an asset to the community.

“There are no Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) there.”

Most Read

Mr Cohen said ecology and environment studies would be carried out and the town would be consulted on their findings.

He stressed a decision on EDDC’s mooted move was still “six months” away and “development isn’t a done deal”.

Nearby resident Michael Temple had asked which areas of Knowle had “been identified as potential building sites” and whether its gardens would remain open to the public.

Julia Harbour said a move would have benefits for EDDC, but asked: “What are the benefits to the Sidmouth tax-payers?”

She said town retailers would suffer and feared “losing part of beautiful parkland”.

Councillor Ann Liverton said the parkland “should be established as a public right of way” and described it as “one of the best approaches” to a town in the region.

She said: “I would be very sorry to see that loss of that green land.

“You would get a lot of problems if you attempted to do anything else.

“Whatever happens at Knowle is a matter of market forces. I do think that land is a priority, and people would be happy to see a sympathetic development there.”

Cllr Simon Pollentine added: “The trees are in a conservation area. They have a degree of protection on them. This council could put TPOs on them.”