10 new homes are proposed for what is currently an employment land site.
There are new sites proposed for housing within Sidmouth:
These were proposed at a recent meeting of the District Council’s strategic planning committee:
To focus on the Sidmouth allowance:
Strategic Planning Committee – Urban Capacity Study was commissioned to assess the potential for development within existing town centres
SIDMOUTH (40 homes) including Land at Alexandria Trading Estate – 10 homes
There might be several issues around this allocation.
1) The Alexandria Industrial Estate is designated as ’employment land’:
Land at Alexandria Industrial Estate – Land for employment use of 0.5 hectares, sites 001A and 001B
As confirmed by a review in 2014:
And in 2019:
And it has been carefully mapped out as ’employment land’:
2) Fords in Graham Brown’s EDBF/EDDC report state that there was no room for development – hence the need for the Sidford employment site:
The East Devon Business Forum Employment Land Survey in 2007, to which Tim Ford contributed, claimed there was no land available for development on this site because of poor access. The report by the EDBF committee chaired by former Cllr Graham Brown was misleading and in the case of the Alex site highly suspect. Due to the above EDBF survey which is based on the “local knowledge” of landowners, excessive amounts of employment land have been
specified in the Local Plan including 5 hectares for Sidmouth.
3) Is the site really suitable for housing?
The idea was mooted in 2010:
“We have to bite the bullet,” Cllr Graham Liverton said, “if Sidmouth is to survive and carry on it’s vital. We want to get away from Alexandria Road. That industrial estate needs to be moved, it would be better for housing.”
But the owners of the current park didn’t agree:
The main Alexandria Road Industrial Site is considered to have bad access and there are conflicts with nearby housing.
Perhaps because there wasn’t any room for any housing:
There is only one unit available for new businesses in Sidmouth for the next 20 years claims the man behind plans for a new business park at Sidford. Tim Ford told residents there was no more land to build or develop on the Alexandria Industrial Estate during a tour of the site.
4) Finally, there can be no change of use to residential, as stated in the Neighbourhood Plan – unless the new Local Plan pushes for that:
POLICY 18 EMPLOYMENT LAND
Change of use of properties used for employment purposes and premises allocated for business in the Local Plan, such as the Alexandria Road Industrial Estate will not be approved unless the new use provides or creates employment, except:
a) where no occupier has been found for vacant premises which have been marketed for at least 12 months for its current use …
b) it excludes change of use to retail, unless required for ancillary use to serve the business needs of the community, or residential uses, even where these provide or create employment
c) where the land is allocated for residential development in the Local Plan