SOS issues last-gasp plea for change to valley’s future vision


Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

CAMPAIGNERS have issued an eleventh-hour plea for a controversial vision for the future of the Sid Valley to be changed.

Save Our Sidmouth (SOS) protesters want the proposed allocation of employment land to be revised and the boundaries relating to possible homes at Knowle to be addressed following major public concern.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) was this week urged to show ‘responsibility, common sense and humility’ and alter its draft Local Plan before it is too late.

SOS leaders have hailed a response from the authority’s leader, Paul Diviani, as a ‘breakthrough’ and ‘breath of fresh air’.

They have expressed their desire to work with the council ‘to embrace a positive vision for Sidmouth and the district as a whole’ and create a more positive relationship.

Town councillors responded to a challenge from businessman Richard Eley to ‘fight for Sidmouth’ on the issue on Monday by agreeing to pen a letter to EDDC reiterating their objections to the blueprint.

Mr Eley told members that there are no ‘legal or technical obstacles’ to stop the plan being altered.

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Marianne Rixson, of Sid Vale Close, separately addressed councillors and said the potential flood risk of any business park development in Sidford would leave residents in a ‘perilous position’ and struggling to insure their homes. She asked: “Who will compensate us?”

EDDC leader Councillor Diviani has written to Mr Eley regarding his call for last minute changes to the draft Local Plan.

The correspondence acknowledges the responsibility of the authority to bring the document ‘up-to-date’ and improve its ‘legibility’ – changes that should not require another consultation process and further delay.

“It does seem that, at long last, there is the prospect for an improved and up-to-date document that more properly reflects the wishes of the residents of Sidmouth,” said an SOS spokesperson.

“The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, however, we must ensure that appropriate changes to the document are made at the development management committee meeting on May 7.”