Scoping study given green light by district

Sidmouth, Port Royal. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 0934-03-12AW

Sidmouth, Port Royal. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 0934-03-12AW - Credit: Archant

A scoping exercise on the redevelopment of Port Royal is one step closer to becoming reality after being given the go-ahead by East Devon District Council (EDDC).

Councillors at the latest cabinet meeting, held on Wednesday, approved the recommendations put forward by Sidmouth Town Council last week, taking the Port Royal project a step forward.

The two authorities can now get the ball rolling and commission experts to identify more information about the site and the opportunities and constraints it presents. It will look into the background of Sidmouth and Port Royal, the work required, information and resources to be provided by the two authorities and what information the proposals will require.

It will also look at the selection process and criteria, conflict of interest and confidentiality, relevant dates and submission administration and contact details. It will cost £10,000 - EDDC will fund 80 per cent and the town council will provide the rest. A reference group will be created and will be made up of local organisations and councillors representing both councils.

During Wednesday’s meeting the cabinet agreed two Sidmouth councillors - Cllr John Dyson and Cllr David Barratt – would represent EDDC on the group.

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Councillor Phil Twiss said: “We must not forget Sidmouth is more than just a town, we have Sidford, Sidbury and Sidford rural - they will be excluded if it is just seen as an EDDC town ward council project.

“We want to include as many people as we can, in every way we can – we weren’t perfect in Exmouth and we have all learnt lessons from that – we have to be more open and inclusive.

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“This has gone on for far too long, it seems like it has been 40 or 50 years... It is a part of the town that is let down badly. We need to help Sidmouth Town Council go ahead with this.”

Cllr Twiss proposed they had one town council ward member on the group – Cllr John Dyson along with Cllr David Barratt, so they could have a more wider and open representation.

Cllr Dawn Manley said: “I have every faith in Cllr Barratt and Cllr Dyson but I find it extraordinary the Conservative whip has chosen who they want to go forward. It makes no sense to me that the town councillors, who were voted for because of these specific issues are being sidelined.”

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