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Council meeting about Port Royal

Sidmouth Town Council will meet on the 5th of Feb at the Methodist Hall to make decisions about Port Royal which will either work to protect or destroy Sidmouth Drill Hall. My email to them can be seen here

The things I am saying are not new, in the main, but it never hurts to jog people’s memories. I believe our Councillors have the best interest of the town at heart and so hope the meeting will show they have listened to what we have said.

You can sign up for the newsletter, which goes out roughly monthly, from any page on the website.

As promised yesterday.

I have put the Excel, and the pdf taken from the Excel, raw survey data online on the Scoping Study page. You’ll find it at the bottom. There are also direct links at the bottom of this post.

This is the information from the 248 people and organiasations who commented on the Scoping Exercise public consultation at the end of June. The narrative answers so how confusing people found the questionnaire, and how in some cases they were trying to answer it without ever having seen, or perhaps understood, those consultation boards.

The people who understand how to read drawings should always be aware that many people can not read them. That is why illustrations from many angles, or preferably models, should be used whenever possible.

Raw data …. Excel format ….. pdf format
Both these are difficult to follow but it is worth reading one of them to get a feel for what people think.

The Survey response document.

Newsletter out, go and read it!

I send newsletters when something newsworthy happens which could affect the campaign to save Sidmouth Drill Hall. As many of you will know there are plans to demolish it, and other buildings around it, in the seafront Conservation Area and replace it with a block up to 5 storeys high.

The excellent news is that the Consultants are now going to look more carefully at the proposals which gives us more time to make our case for renewing the current buildings rather than replacing them.

Encouraging News  newsletter

You can sign up for the newsletter on any page of the Drill Hall Rescue site. Or read about the history on the sister site.

Heritage and the Economy

Historic England have just published the 2017 Heritage Counts report, and it should be required reading for our Councillors, especially the Sidmouth ones.

This is an extract
Local heritage assets can play a critical role in successful regeneration projects. Heritage-led regeneration projects are where a new viable economic use is found for historic buildings, offering owners or developers a return on their investment whilst maintaining the conservation value of the heritage asset. (Deloitte, 2017).

Investing in the historic environment generates economic returns for local places.
On average, £1 of public sector expenditure on heritage-led regeneration generates £1.60 additional economic activity over a ten year period (AMION and Locum Consulting, 2010).
People spend more in their local economy after investment in the historic environment
– In areas that had received investment in the historic environment, approximately one in five visitors in a survey of 1,000 stated they spent more in an area after investment in the historic environment than they did before. One in four businesses stated that the historic environment investment had directly led to an increase in business turnover (AMION and Locum Consulting, 2010).

There are so many things we could do to boost our local economy by building on (historic) buildings!
Architecture could be used to power all sorts of activities to boost visitor numbers so why aren’t we capitalising on it?

Come and join us

Would you like to join us?

Do you want to sign up to the Drill Hall Rescue Newsletter (including information about Port Royal)? Or to Retain-Refurbish-Reuse Bulletin?

Nothing could be easier! Both sites now have MailChimp sign-up forms on the right-hand side of the webpages. We use MailChimp because it allows you to unsubscribe easily if you decide you are no longer interested and it stops us accidentally adding you from any other of our lists you sign up to. MailChimp remembers who has unsubscribed.

So visit


And add your email to our growing lists.

(Click on the pic )

Confused again, sigh!

On the 21st Sept there was a meeting of the Reference Group, which are the people who are supposed to be helping the Scoping Exercise Consultants for Port Royal understand what the town wants and what has been considered before.

I thought this meeting was to consider the ‘proposals’ of a concept building described to the public back at the end of June. But it seems as thought I was once again confused, this concept has still not been kicked into the long grass!

From the Press Release ( which I have found on the EDDC site but not managed to track down on STC) it would appear to have been a meeting about the results of the survey which closed at the end of July. This survey was a very poor specimen of its type, all the questions were built on the assumption that a major redevelopment of replacing every building currently there WOULD happen.

The Neighbourhood Plan had over 1,800 responses, and included a section about Port Royal: the Retain-Refurbish-Reuse petition collected over 1,800 signatures in favour of renewing current facilities. Yet the press release trumpets their outstanding success at getting 250 people or organisations to complete the survey, and seems to think that their results are more trustworthy than those in the Neighbourhood Plan survey.

Surely the mere 250 respondents shows what a bad survey it is rather than indicating a lack of willingness to get involved? This survey should be a source of shame and the results should be given little weight.Some respondents took the time to express their disgust with the standard of the survey, I do hope those comments will be released too when the time comes.

They say in the press release ‘ It is clear too that, in the main, the people of Sidmouth would like to see bars and restaurants as a feature of any proposed development and that the Lifeboat Station is integral to future plans. A new multi-function facility which could host water activity and The Sailing Club ….’ They are right about the Lifeboat, but other surveys don’t show an appetite for a new multifunction facility to improve things for the Sailing Club and also host other water activities there too. There is a lot of interest in increasing the water activities available at Port Royal but that interest is by no means tied to the Sailing Club, and shouldn’t be. Joining them together decreases design options and creates unnecessary limitations.

According to the Neighbourhood Plan surveys restaurants have mixed levels of support and bars are not mentioned strongly either!

So, should we believe what we are told without seeing the evidence to back it up, or should we believe the results of more open and longer term consultations? Should we believe experts or grass roots? Such a confusing decision 😉