Sidmouth set for inquiry over footpath wrangle

Route diversion key to planned retirement community

A PUBLIC inquiry into a Sidmouth footpath wrangle, that is crucial to the destiny of a planned town-centre retirement community development, will take place tomorrow (Tuesday, January 31).

The Planning Inspectorate will begin the process of deciding whether to uphold or reverse a county council order to divert a pedestrian route - linking Holmdale to Mill Street - when a hearing is held at Sidmouth Methodist Church, from 10am.

The Herald reported, last year, how developer, Blue Cedar Homes, said it would ditch a bid to transform Parson Yard into 12 dwellings if a decision on footpath 169, which cuts through the site, doesn’t go its way.

Blue Cedar chiefs requested a security-minded diversion to a line running along the southern boundary of the site as part of a scheme to build a ‘gated’ estate, featuring ten cottages and two apartments, that was granted planning permission in February.

Public rights of way authority, Devon County Council, duly gave the proposed footpath diversion the go-ahead.

Residents and civic leaders lodged objections to that decision and prompted Tuesday’s appeal.

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The Planning Inspectorate has the power to overturn the order.

A Blue Cedar spokesman said in October: “We wouldn’t be able to proceed with the scheme if the footpath wasn’t diverted.

“If the appeal is allowed, the site will stay as it is.”

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