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Philip Evans


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SIDMOUTH: Campaigners ‘determined to fight on’

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Sidmouth campaigners fighting to oppose what they describe as “damaging plans” for the future of the area have vowed to continue their protests. The Save Our Sidmouth campaign has persistently objected to East Devon District Council’s proposed move to Skypark and has raised issue with its development of a local plan for the area. And protestors have this week reasserted their opposition, pledging to “fight on” against “inefficiencies and incompetence” within the district authority. In a report to members published on the campaign’s website this week, Save Our Sidmouth Chairman Richard Thurlow thanked residents for their support. He said: “Save Our Sidmouth has benefited from widespread public support for the campaign, in response to our posters, writing of letters, attending public meetings, demonstrations and district council meetings. “Residents and visitors can be reassured that we are still active and continuing our campaign against the depredations proposed by East Devon District Council in the Sid Vale, in connection with the Knowle and the Local Plan.” EDDC is planning to sell the Knowle – their current headquarters – as well as the Manstone Depot for housing development, in order to move to new offices in the west of the district at Skypark. And a council spokesperson said this week that relocation would bring a “better and stronger future”. But campaigners have described the proposals as a “vanity project” and argued that the Knowle could be refurbished instead. They have similarly objected to the council’s handling of the Local Plan – the blueprint for future development of the area – and claimed that plans for a new five-hectare employment site on AONB land between Sidford and Sidbury should be scrapped. In his report, Mr Thurlow added: “EDDC has wasted huge amounts of public money in their plans for relocation of their headquarters and in the preparation of the Local Plan. “SOS maintains that inefficiencies and incompetence in EDDC has cost local taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds. “We have achieved a great deal in the two years we have been in existence and we are determined to fight on.”

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