'Three Rs' campaigners stage public meeting on Port Royal redevelopment
PUBLISHED: 13:30 23 August 2017 | UPDATED: 13:43 23 August 2017
Campaigners are inviting anyone who opposes the large-scale redevelopment of Sidmouth’s Port Royal area to have their say at a public meeting today (Wednesdayt).
District councillors Cathy Gardner, Marianne Rixson, Dawn Manley and Matt Booth are against levelling the site and instead argue the existing buildings should be ‘retained, refurbished and renewed’.
They have drawn up alternative proposals that will be on display at the meeting, where residents will also be able to add their names to the 1,000 signatures already on a petition backing their ‘Three Rs’ campaign.
A campaign spokesman said: “In October this year, East Devon District Council (EDDC) will decide on future development for the Port Royal area of our seafront. This follows a scoping study done in conjunction with Sidmouth Town Council (STC).
“The large-scale development put forward in the consultation – and as proposed in the Local Plan – will have a huge impact on the views, use of the area and change its unique character. People in Sidmouth have been asking why the area can’t remain as it is, with subtle improvements and changes. Many people have queried why the survey regarding the Port Royal ‘proposals’ was so biased in favour of a large development, including housing, with no other options offered as ways forward.
“The questions were leading and assumed agreement with a development of some kind, which is not what other surveys, nor the Neighbourhood Plan, have previously found. There were limited opportunities to express other solutions to the constraints of the scoping study or needs of the site.”
Presentations at the meeting will include a summary of the scoping study and consultation, findings from previous surveys and initial findings from the Neighbourhood Plan, ideas for an alternative vision and discussion to hear the public’s views.
In a joint statement, EDDC and STC previously said: “There are no proposals, no plans and no schemes being put forward here, nor are there any pre-conceived ideas about the future of Port Royal.”
The campaigners’ meeting will be held from 7pm to 9pm in All Saints Church Hall.
Weather permitting, there will be a grand picnic on the Ham from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday, August 27. Organisers have described it as a ‘sit down, not a sit in – with cake’.