Real Zorro

Mission - to challenge in East Devon. To hold elected representatives & their officials to account.

Friday, 6 February 2015

The locals are revolting! Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce opposes EDDC land grab

Oh dear, oh dear! Not only are the residents revolting but we also have the Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce wading into the fray!

Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce’s Secretary has recently written to all of its members encouraging them to submit comments to East Devon District Council on its latest shenanigans, the land grab at the Knowle. Helpfully Silvia Brownlee attaches not only the information that Save our Sidmouth (SOS) has circulated about the land grab, but also provides a pdf document that shows the scale of the land grab.

Both Silvia’s letter, which includes SOS’s comments, and access to the pdf are posted below.

As each day comes, so do more and more individuals and groups who are railing against the arrogance of East Devon District Council’s ruling Conservative Group’s activities.

It’s time for change! It’s time for challenge!

Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce letter -


Dear Member, 

Richard Thurlow, Chair of SOS has written a very precise and comprehensive explanation of the present situation regarding Knowle which follows. We should all comment on these proposals to EDDC, please do so direct to their Legal Department before 20th February using the reference at the foot.

The Chair of Save Our Sidmouth (SOS), Richard Thurlow, writes on 4 February 2015 ...

You may be aware that EDDC published two notices in the Herald last week, giving notice that they intend to appropriate land for housing, under sections 122 and 123 of the Local Government Act of 1972.

The land to be so appropriated, (the total area of land they say they need for development). includes 0.6ha of Public Open Space, (POS). The plan, which I have included above, shows the POS, note that the remainder of the land, (actually the "hard" area, of buildings and roads), are not shown, but I include a pdf which shows the total land which EDDC are appropriating.

Comments on these proposals have to be with EDDC Legal department by 20th February 2015, ref OFF.1-0014/HGL

The following notes may help.

1. EDDC own all the land in question.
2. They have given notice of their intention ​to appropriate and dispose of the land for ​housing, and this would be for "residential and/or extra care assisted living uses", ie to sell the land to a Developer to fund their move.
3. They are entitled to do this under the Local Government Act 1972.​. However, land can only be appropriated if the Council believes that it is no longer required for the purpose for which it is held (ie Public Open Space).They must dispose of it at market value or get the Secretary of State's consent.​
4. They include 0.6 Ha of public open space which​ includes most of the Upper Terraces and part of ​the garden/workshop area.
5. ​EDDC will consider any comments and decide whether or not to proceed with the appropriation and disposal​
6. I understand that there can be no challenge to their decision except through a Judicial Review on the basis that their decision is unreasonable.​

1. ​EDDC have accepted the status of the land coloured red as public open space.
2. The land referred to in the notices is not the​ full extent of the land which EDDC propose to sell; the land referred to in the notices is only that part of the land which EDDC believe to be public open space.​
3. Sidmouth Town Council were not consulted but considered the proposals on 2nd February as an urgent item. They vehemently oppose the development of any part of the Knowle except the footprint of the existing offices.
4. The 2006 Local Plan, which is still the relevant development plan, designates the area in front of the former hotel (ie the terraces) as recreation land. The new proposed local plan which purported to designate the land for housing was rejected by the Inspector last year and carries very little, if any, weight.

Comments that could be made to EDDC.
1. ​Part of the​ land is designated​ on the current 2006 Local Plan as Recreation land​ under Policy RE1,
2. EDDC assumes, by its proposal ​that the land is not required for the purpose that exists at the moment. In fact It is required for public open space​ and is still used as such.
3. ​The land is affected by claimed footpaths which Devon County Council​ propose to register as public rights of way subject to the outcome of a public inquiry to be held in September
4. EDDC acknowledges that the land is public open space. It ​is regularly used by the Public as part of the Knowle Parkland and Gardens and its loss​ would be detrimental to the Public's enjoyment of this publicly owned asset.​
5. ​One of the reasons why EDDC's Development Management Committee refused planning permission last year​ was the loss of public open space. The committee considered that the land formed an important amenity for the residents of Sidmouth and should be retained for the benefit of the community. The Council were not satisfied that the land was surplus to requirements. EDDC should respect the committee's decision.
6. The development​ of the Terraces would​ have a serious adverse effect on the appearance of the remainder of the​ gardens

There may be other valid reasons that could be put forward; if you have any please let me know urgently.​ Any comments to me please (Richard Thurlow This is a significant point in being able to challenge the Development.

I believe that it is ESSENTIAL, that EDDC receives as many comments on their proposal as possible, and would urge you to do so, also asking other residents of Sidmouth.

Comments to EDDC's Legal Department​ before 20th February -​ ref OFF.1-0014/HGL.
Please feel free to pass this email on to whomsoever you wish to.

Signed Richard Thurlow


Sylvia Brownlee

Secretary, Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce

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