Sidmouth residents’ ideas for Port Royal regeneration

Sidmouth Vision Group sets out suggestions for Port Royal regeneration

SIDMOUTH’S Port Royal area could provide protection for Alma Bridge, Salcombe Cliffs and help flooding issues if a jetty, pier, harbour or marina were built there.

With 26 of 60 responses to a public consultation over how to re-develop the area in favour of one or other of these, only the restriction or relocation of car parks gained more support.

The ideas have certainly provided food for thought for members of the Vision Group for Sidmouth who organised the consultation at Sidmouth Library.

Some ideas are on a grand scale, such as providing an exhibition/performance area: such as the Maltings at Snape, a development on several storeys with car parking at ground level, perhaps housing an aquarium, health spa and two restaurants.

Relocation of the pumping station to turn the whole area into a green space, replacing the old pump house with a playground/garden for the blind and partially sighted, is another suggestion.

Most saw the sea as an asset for the area, together with The Ham as a village green (23). Saving the fish sheds was seen as important, as was pedestrianisation of the area.

Most Read

Many were against the building of expensive flats or apartments, but others supported the idea.

A boardwalk along the river towards The Byes was suggested by seven, while five want a wave boon or a small hydro-electric plant on the river.

Residents were concerned that Sidmouth Sailing Club and Sidmouth Lifeboat should be adequately housed in any regeneration project.

Small entrepreneurial retail or production units on the Ham car park, such as the Arches, Exeter, is an idea included in a submission by Graham Hooper, who lives in Peak Hill.

Mr Hooper, an architectural consultant and member of the Vision Group, spent hours producing a report, maps and diagrams to display at the consultation.

He said: “You have got to phase out the Ham car park, a collection point for vehicles, which sucks traffic through the High Street.”

He believes a better use for the parking spaces is to have a mix of cottage-style housing and workshops that reflect the skills, services and needs of the town, and take traffic management measures to halt the racetrack effect from Fore Street to Eastern Town, by blocking Ham Lane and East Street to make a pedestrian area down to Port Royal.

Cars would head for the under-used Manor Road car park and a Hopper bus-like system would bring people to the centre, as would a park and ride out of town.

“It used to be a living community, now it is just a car park,” said Mr Cooper, who said The Three Cornered Plot was the “gateway” to the town, and if Church Street was pedestrianised “there would be a beautiful walk for pedestrians.”

He said there had to be a serious 80 percent reduction in carbon monoxide emissions by 2050 and a reduction in traffic through Sidmouth would help.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that any regeneration in Eastern Town must take into account the wider picture of what kind of town centre is desirable and sustainable, - and of course it must inform (and be informed by) the forthcoming DCC Transport Plan.”