Knowle relocation project: digging a hole on-site

Making a ‘meaningful start’.

And yet the developers are “considering the options for the site’s redevelopment”.

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Back in January 2018, the Inspector over-ruled councillors and allowed the appeal by developers to demolish Knowle and build several blocks of flats:

Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: BREAKING NEWS >>> PegasusLife appeal allowed > District Council press release

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However, it took another two years to complete the purchase:

Knowle relocation project: BREAKING: developer pays up – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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And in between and ever since there have been all sorts of questions hanging on the project:

Blackout (whoops, sorry, Blackdown) House – is the EDDC HQ best value? | East Devon Watch

Knowle relocation project: ‘questions hang in the air’ – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Some very seedy:

Knowle relocation project: of Paradise Papers, FOI requests and Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs column – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Some very serious:

EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL’S “RELOCATION PROJECT” – STATEMENT OF OBJECTION – 16 July 2018

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But one particular question has to be whether the developer is actually interested in developing the site.

In August 2019, the EDW blog noted:

PegasusLife still not listing Knowle as a futre development | East Devon Watch

And that is still the case today:

Our Developments | Later Living Housing | Pegasus

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This week, there have been further signs of second thoughts and foot-dragging:

In order for a developer to keep hold of its planning permission for a site, it actually needs to do some ‘works’ on the site. Specifically, a developer is required to submit “construction phasing plans” as a condition of the initial planning permission.

Those plans for the Knowle were approved by District Council planning officers in November 2020, with the construction phasing plans showing what has to be done and by when – the first phase being a ‘meaningful start’:

02 Nov 2020 Reports DOC CONSTRUCTION PHASING STRATEGY

Which can be found here under ‘documents’, :

16/0872/MFUL | The construction of an assisted living community for older people comprising extra care units, staff accommodation and communal facilities, including a kitchen, restaurant/bar/cafe, a well-being suite comprising gym, treatment rooms and pool, a communal lounge and storage facilities; car parking for residents, visitors and staff of the assisted living community; comprehensive landscaping comprising communal and private spaces; and associated groundworks. | Council Offices Knowle Sidmouth EX10 8HL

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A correspondent notes that the ‘meaningful start’ which has been carried out on site has been… the digging of a hole in a car park.

Otherwise, there would be questions around the continuing validity of planning permission.

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Now, however, the developers are “considering the options for the site’s redevelopment”, according to Daniel Clarke, whose report has been picked up across the local media:

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A year ago, these news pages asked what had been achieved from all of this:

Knowle relocation project: some reflections – Vision Group for Sidmouth

With the answers a year on being:

  1. the digging of a hole; and
  2. the gaping hole in the justifications for relocation.
   
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