Sidmouth Marina plans exclusively revealed

Regeneration of Port Royal, Sidmouth debate revisits marina plans

PLANS for a marina and the regeneration of Sidmouth’s Port Royal were revealed for the first time this week to revisit the debate on the future of the site.

They show the position and extent of a 180-berth marina, ringed by a public pier, and detail a mix of residential development and retail shops with Ham West “roofed” by a single storey to increase car parking.

The plans, drawn up by architects for Woodbury-based FWS Carter and Son, were never made public when debate raged for and against a marina three years ago.

It was ultimately rejected in February 2008 by the Executive Board of East Devon District Council, primarily because it saw no future in such a facility so openly exposed to the sea in bad weather.

The Board decided instead to pursue negotiations to acquire the Drill Hall, always a buffer to any regeneration, and prepare a planning brief with Sidmouth Town Council for future redevelopment of the site.

No such brief has come forward, despite the painstaking efforts of a steering committee set up, with council representation, by the Sidmouth Vision Group.

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But now EDDC has an agreement to acquire the hall, freeing the site for any future redevelopment, the company is “going public” with its plans.

“We believe it reopens an important debate on a site which, as has been said many times, is at the heart of Sidmouth’s future,” Mathew Carter, a director of the company told the Herald.

“We hope the plans will enable people to study the detail afresh and, through our Port Royal marina website or in letters to the Herald, state their views whether they be for or against.”

He disclosed that if, or when, the site was put out to tender for development, in partnership with the district council, his company, which owns Exmouth Marina, Greendale Business Park, Ladram Bay and a range of trawler and commercial businesses across the South West, would submit a bid with, or without, a marina.

“Our primary goal, however, would be a marina,” said Mr Carter. “We consider, as we did when we first put the project forward, that it represents a golden opportunity for Sidmouth, bringing an entirely new dimension to its tourist trade and amenity appeal.”