Sidmouth to get ‘bigger and better’ car park after Knowle development, says council

Knowle council offices car park. Picture: Alex Walton

Knowle council offices car park. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth will have a ‘bigger and better’ town centre car park once works have finished at Knowle.

Those are the words of district council bosses in response to a story the Herald ran last week regarding developers’ use of the lower car park as storage space during the construction of a to 113-home retirement community.

Fears were raised that a £759,000 flood prevention scheme, which protects town centre homes, would have to be postponed until works were finished - which could take up to three years. Concerns were raised for the impact on the town’s economy while the car park was temporarily shut.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) is in discussion with the developers PegasusLife and Sidmouth Town Council (STC) about the use of the ‘park and walk’ service if it was temporarily closed.

EDDC leader Councillor Ian Thomas said it was likely the authority will be letting the developer use the land as it would mean the town could get a bigger car park.

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He added that this meant it would keep construction vehicles away from ‘impractical routes’ and should not disrupt everyday traffic using Broadway and Knowle Drive.

Cllr Thomas said: “This will help alleviate congestion in the town and encourage more visitors to Sidmouth and to the Knowle Park itself.

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“We appreciate that this will mean that the current car park which is available to the public at weekends will not be available during the construction period.

“However, that will mean a bigger and better public car park open every day in the future, which is what the town council wants for Sidmouth.”

Devon County Councillor Stuart Hughes he felt there was an all-round appreciation for what everyone was trying to achieve.

Cllr Hughes said: “This is excellent news and will be welcomed by all concerned especially those whose properties could have been inundated with flood water should there be a severe weather event.

“All going well, we should remain on schedule.”

County officers are now waiting for confirmation from the Environment Agency to secure the funding for flood works.

EDDC has offered the remaining parkland to STC after works have finished to reinstate and extend the car park - making it an ‘even more important asset to the town’.

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