Town Council has not ‘conceded’ over Knowle parkland

Sidmouth Town Council has refuted claims it has ‘conceded large areas of public space’ by supporting an outline planning application for the Knowle.

Barry Curwen said he was ‘extremely disappointed’ with the decision taken by the planning committee in September.

He accused its decision of being at odds with a previous resolution agreed by Sidmouth Town Council the previous month, which said it ‘wishes to see the retention of all the existing open space and the formal creation of public rights of way at Knowle’.

But a spokesman for the town council said: “To say no to the entire development would give the council little or no influence at all in the planning process.

“In attempting to defend the most valuable amenity parts of the Knowle grounds, the council has tried to keep those areas untouched.”

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He said the council came to a ‘balanced and well reasoned decision’.

“Some people may not agree with that position. Others have offered much support for it but that is how democracy works,” he said.

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“Sidmouth is a town of nearly 16,000 people and the council has to best represent everyone, not just those that shout loudest.”

Mr Curwen, who lives on Knowle Drive, said if councillors were to be consistent then the whole application should have been rejected.

He said: “Sidmouth Town Council has effectively conceded large areas of public open space by agreeing to support development in zones B, C and D.”

But the spokesman said there were many people in Sidmouth who believe Sidmouth Town Council has a ‘better chance of achieving and influencing a better outcome by fighting winnable battles, rather than to refuse everything’.

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