East Devon Local Plan consultation: Sidford industrial estate

“We would urge that the site be removed from the Local Plan.”

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In its submission as part of the District Council’s consultation on an updated Local Plan, the Town Council would like the controversial provision for an industrial estate on the outskirts of Sidford removing from the current Local Plan:

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4. Supporting jobs and the economy. To support business investment and job creation opportunities within East Devon and support a resilient economy.

Sidmouth has been blessed, whether we wanted it or not, with a prospective business park at Two Bridges, Sidford which Sidmouth Town Council have consistently opposed. At the present time this development has not been implemented. If this remains the case we would urge that the site be removed from the Local Plan including the so-called phase 2 which was intended to be developed only if and when the first phase was occupied.

We would resist the allocation of additional land within our town, although we would strongly support the improvement of the Alexandra Industrial Estate and a new access onto the B3176 Bulverton Road.

Agenda-STC-010321.pdf

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Indeed, there are several reasons why the allocation should be removed:

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1: Dubious process:

“The influence of the East Devon Business Forum on proposals for employment land and housing in the draft Local Plan should be considered.”

Futures Forum: Sidford business park > “The Local Plan is a deeply flawed document.”

“The company which will benefit from the insertion of extra employment land at Sidford into the Local Plan was a member of the sub-committee set up by the East Devon Business Forum to push for extra employment land across the District.”

Futures Forum: Sidford business park > Fords planning application >>> 16/0669/MOUT >>> the applicant, the East Devon Business Forum and lobbying for more employment land

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2: “It should never have been put in the LP”:

One of the arguments against this proposal had been the notion of preserving a ‘green wedge’ between Sidford and Sidbury – and so it was removed:

Futures Forum: Proposals for a business/retail park at Sidford are removed from the draft Local Plan >>> to be replaced by new proposals for ‘green wedge’ between Sidford and Sidbury?

But the site was allocated again by the Inspector.

Ever since, however, arguments have been made to remove it:

Futures Forum: Take the business park land at Sidford out of the Local Plan

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3: It can be removed:

“A Local Plan is not set in stone. It can adapt to ‘material changes’, such as the dramatic re-assessment of Highways problems…”

Futures Forum: Developing the Sidford employment site: “A Local Plan is not set in stone. It can adapt to ‘material changes’.”

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4: Traffic:

“Traffic chaos, pollution and increased dangers to pedestrians and cyclists forced to use a main road would only get worse if plans for a new business park were built.”

Sidford Business Park > it’s all about the traffic – Vision Group for Sidmouth

With something to watch:

Sidford Business Park: public hearing day two: the traffic videos – Vision Group for Sidmouth

More trucks on Sidford and Sidbury’s narrow roads – Vision Group for Sidmouth

It’s a general problem of course:

More roads = more traffic = more pollution – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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5: Environment:

“According to East Devon Local Plan – strategy 26, “Sidmouth’s outstanding natural environment is a key asset and conservation, enhancement and sensitive management of the landscape, heritage and wildlife of the area is critical” While strategy 46 in Local Plan states that development inside an AONB ‘must conserve and enhance the landscape character of the area’.

“A renowned Regency resort, Sidmouth, is situated in magnificent natural surroundings which will be irreparably damaged by such a development. Scaring the Sid Valley’s picturesque countryside, the environmental and economic impact of this ugly intrusion will be considerable. The development would be detrimental to the long-term viability of the Sid Valley as a high-quality visitor destination.”

Futures Forum: Sidford business park >>> “Sidmouth’s outstanding natural environment is a key asset – and conservation, enhancement and sensitive management of the landscape, heritage and wildlife of the area is critical.”

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6: Climate change:

Five years ago, the Environment Agency seemed to be rather unsure about the impact of the proposed site:

Futures Forum: Sidford business park > Fords planning application >>> 16/0669/MOUT >>> Environment Agency appears to contradict its own guidance on flooding and climate change >>> EA to reply to SVA

Since then, things have not been getting any better:

“In the area, the worst-case scenario with respect to the carbon footprint and environmental impact will be the proposed Sidford Business Park. With increased traffic and pollution, the risk of flooding and ecological harm this will create considerable damage to the AONB and the valley as a resort of quality. The volume of traffic movement including HGVs during and after construction, employees and visiting vehicles choking up the narrow roads in the locality will be considerable.

“The whole-life emissions from embodied carbon during building and the in-use heating and cooling will be vast. In view of the climate and extinction emergency, there is clearly no justification for such unnecessary out-of-town development especially when there is no evidence of need and plenty of spare office space capacity in the centre of Sidmouth. If we are to avoid a climate change catastrophe, we owe it to future generations to call a halt to the wasteful use of resources and such unsustainable over development.”

Unsustainable over-development in East Devon – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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7: Unsustainable economic development:

Young people will not be wanting to work on an industrial estate of warehouses and shops on the outskirts of Sidford:

Futures Forum: Sidford, employment land and the demographic time bomb

We need the sort of economic development which will encourage young people to put down roots:

Futures Forum: “We need a more balanced community.” >>> “The Sid Valley needs a ‘long-term vision’ to attract more young people and families,”

Futures Forum: East Devon’s demographic time bomb >>> “the District Council has a duty to create balanced communities”

This is where unconsidered ‘development’ does not do future generations any justice:

Climate change between the generations – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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