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Picture of the Knowle Hotel in Edwardian times           The Knowle, originally built as a Cottage Ornee.

There are many books and internet resources giving the history of The Knowle from when it was built through its occupation by Mr Fish, its life as an Hotel and its eventual acquisition by Sidmouth Urban District Council.

This page documents the end of its life, as it is sold for redevelopment against the wishes of the town. A 2022 update can be found here

The plans by EDDC to relocate District Council headquarters from Knowle, Sidmouth began in 2007

The campaign to have The Knowle reused rather than redeveloped was of such importance to the town that several groups came together in an co-ordinated ‘SOS’. Devon and national organisations were contacted and lent their support but eventually, after an appeal to the Secretary of State by PegasusLife against the refusal of the Planning Permission, the redevelopment was give permission to proceed.

News and info was, and still is, available at Knowle Watch | Save Our Sidmouth

The Futures Forum work on the Knowle Plans is here :

EDDC Knowle Plans

Futures Forum Blog, Knowle

The East Devon District Council side of the story can be found through the links below:

EDDC – Moving and Improving – Communication Events – July 2012

The District Council’s officers acted against the Local Plan in recommending approval of the 2016 application

The document Submission from the Vision Group for Sidmouth 17/00040/REF Knowle Appeal   was the last document which went from the VGS to the Inspector presiding over the successful appeal by PegasusLife against planning permission refusal..

A summary of the issues was sent to the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government in March 2018 – and again in July 2018 when a new minister was confirmed:


The reply received from the department on both occasions stated that “Ministers have no remit to intervene in the day to day affairs of local authorities”:

Response to mail dated 4 March to the Rt Hon Sajid Javid concerning East Devon District Council – 26mar18

The story continued, however, as reported on the VGS website:

Knowle relocation project: a summary of the issues

District Council promises a ‘bigger and better’ car park once Knowle is developed

Knowle relocation project: calling for a councillor-led working party ‘to look into these matters in the public interest’

Knowle relocation project: of Paradise Papers, FOI requests and Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs column

Knowle relocation project: ‘questions hang in the air’

Knowle relocation project: and losing out

Knowle relocation project: prioritise retrofitting existing buildings over demolition and rebuild