Sidmouth’s Drill Hall will likely become bar or restaurant, say council bosses

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

Sidmouth’s redundant Drill Hall site will be marketed for redevelopment most likely for a bar, restaurant or similar use, say council bosses.

Last week, East Devon District Council (EDDC) and Sidmouth Town Council (STC), which own the site, agreed on the next steps to redevelop the area.

EDDC will now commission a marketing exercise to invite investor interested in redeveloping the Drill Hall site to come forward.

The Drill Hall site will be marketed for six months to allow both commercial and non-commercial bids to come forward. It is expected that the site will be marketed from the spring. STC has also agreed to focus on improvements to the Fishermen’s shed and Fish Shop area.

It all comes after 18 months of consultation, communication and engagement with the local community to find out what they would like to see in their town.

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Town organisations have played a key role in having their say in how the area should be improved and have joined STC and EDDC in discussions about the future uses of Port Royal.

The decision is said to reflect what people said they would like to see on Port Royal when they asked about it last year, in a dedicated scoping exercise of the area and through questions in the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan consultation.

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Sidmouth Town Councillor Jeff Turner said: “This has been a successful and effective cooperative process between the two councils sharing the costs. The studies’ aims, to identify the opportunities and constraints with the Port Royal site and to understand the public’s views on redevelopment of the site were achieved and, together with the views expressed in the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan surveys, demonstrated that a mixed-use development as proposed in the Local Plan would not be acceptable within the constraints identified. It was clear that the Sidmouth public did not want a large scale development but wanted to see improvements and, ideally, new restaurant and bar attractions.

“I’m pleased that we have come to a decision on an acceptable way forward through the district council’s proposal to market the drill hall site. Much will depend now on the results of the marketing.”

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