The Local Plan, Knowle relocation, Sidmouth Mill Street – Hugo thinks it’s all a dog’s dinner


Photo Source:  Daily Mirror

Fresh from his fine performance at the Houses of Parliament Dog Show, Hugo Swire has some harsh words for our local district council in this week’s Sidmouth Herald. What a pity that he didn’t make his views known before the local and national elections …..



Here is the article from today’s Sidmouth Herald:

Swire 30.10.15

His idea for a multi-storey car park-cum housing block over the Ham car park might raise more than a few eyebrows.

Amongst his comments are the following:

“… People are put off by multi-storey car parks, but we can do a clever design that incorporates multi-storey parking and residential homes with affordable housing – which is what we need to bring people into this part of the town. …”

Er, not sure the people in the apartments upstairs would welcome the intense vehicle particulate discharge of the multi-storey car park below them – or the noise  …

“ … You are solving the parking issue and if we do it as one, we are really invigorating the whole of the town. I think the one thing we lack is a marina and I don’t see why we could not have one in Sidmouth – it would bring people into town. “Again, the whole redesign of Alma Bridge and also the Drill Hall area needs to be done as one .”..

Owl can visualise now the wonderful image of Hugo drawing into Sidmouth Marina for his annual visit ….. and, yes, Hugo, your constituents in Sidmouth have been saying this for years, only your fellow Conservative councillors have disagreed.

…Mr Swire admitted the Government’s commitment to building more houses created a problem in Sidmouth, where much of the land is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  This, he says, is why there needs to be an established Local Plan, which would provide a blueprint to determine areas earmarked for future development for the next 15 years and beyond.
Speaking about the delays in drafting a plan, Mr Swire said: “It has been a nightmare.

Well, only a nightmare for your constituents, Hugo – a beautiful dream for our council and its developers.

“I have said this is an absolute priority and it has been extremely frustrating that we have not got here sooner.  If you live in a place, you do not want the field next door to be covered in houses, but if everybody said ‘not here’, there would be no more new houses. “We are determined to get more people on the housing ladder. If we build houses in the right area, then people will not complain.

Yes, Mr Swire, we have all been saying this for the whole 7 -plus years that the Local Plan has been under discussion by your fellow Conservatives.

“I would favour putting more at Cranbrook, but then what is the knock-on effect on our services? “The sooner we come up with the Local Plan, the sooner we can have a more rational discussion about it.” …”

Er, no Hugo, that’s not how it works.  Once the Local Plan is agreed the discussion is over.  The time for rational discussion has already passed.  It was done by many of your constituents in front of Planning Inspector, Mr Thickett – twice.  But, unfortunately, you were not there to give him the benefit of your wise words.

A bit of closing the kennel door after the dog has bolted, perhaps …