Council supports ‘desperately needed’ Sidmouth College extension despite public objections

PUBLISHED: 12:31 02 December 2018

Artist impressions of the new block at Sidmouth College, Picture: Bouygues UK

Artist impressions of the new block at Sidmouth College, Picture: Bouygues UK

Archant

Plans to build a state-of-the-art classrooms block at Sidmouth College have been backed by town councillors, despite objections from residents.

Sidmouth Town Council’s planning committee discussed the application for a 4,017m² science and humanities block at its latest meeting on Wednesday.

Resident Ken Stedham, of Primley Mead, spoke at the meeting and raised his concerns.

Part of the proposed L-shaped building is three storeys and part of it is two storeys.

Mr Stedham said: “The windows in the two storey build will look directly at our attic bedroom window and a single storey build no more than three metres high would be acceptable.”

The college did hold a public consultation in October but Mr Stedham said he was unhappy with the designs displayed.

He added: “The model they put in the college on the evening when people could go in was made in such a way just to confuse.

“Nobody at that meeting could tell us the dimensions of the buildings.”

Councillor Jeff Turner, who represents the Primley ward, listened to residents’ concerns but highlighted the lack of redevelopment that the college had seen.

He said: “The science laboratories there were not even as good as the ones I had when I was taking my GCEs in 1962.

“They were really inferior and this college’s new development is desperately needed.”

Cllr Turner said he welcomed the new plans and believed the majority of Sidmouth would do the same.

Cllr Ian Barlow agreed and added: “It’s not a beautiful building, it is what it is. It’s a school and as Cllr Turner said, the school that we’ve got is old and it needs money spent on it.

“I think we are very lucky that they are going to do this.”

Cllr Gareth Jones said the town would be ‘privileged’ to have such a development because education was lacking throughout the country.

Cllr John Rayson said he did not support the proposals.

He added that when he first saw the plans he thought it was ‘overkill’ and that the college could have achieved quite a lot by doing something less ambitious.

The final decision will be made by East Devon District Council’s development management committee.

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