“At Sidmouth Town Council (STC) tonight, the architecture competition for eastern town was described as “a fantastic opportunity” (Cllr Dawn Manley) , and “a great initiative” (Cllr John Rayson). Chair, Jeff Turner was also supportive, saying he regarded the competition as “part of a mix” of ideas alongside those that would emerge from Sidmouth’s Neighbourhood Plan now being prepared by the Town Council, and from the District’s Local Plan. Cllr David Barratt, too, took an optimistic view. “It’s going to happen, let’s make it positive”, he urged his colleagues, emphasising that “it costs us nothing”, but with the proviso that “it must be open-ended”.
Cllr Ian Barlow found himself a lone voice amongst the councillors. In an untypically rambling speech criticising the competition as “too early”, he was straightaway countered by Cllr Dawn Manley. “It’s never too early”, she said, pointing out that “EDDC say they do want to work with the Town Council and with the public”.
Cllr Kelvin Dent welcomed the “crucial” scoping exercise about to be started by EDDC with STC, but added a note of caution. He asked the Chair, “In view of our contribution (£2,000 from STC, with £8,000 from EDDC), could I request that the Town Council be represented on the scoping exercise committee,” to ensure that we are involved in, for example, the choice of consultants?”
The reply was not entirely reassuring. “I understand we still have to finalise the format for the scoping exercise” , Jeff Turner said.
At this point, the town clerk, Chris Holland, was invited to comment. “It is this council who will be leading the scoping exercise “ he vehemently claimed, adding, “I don’t care what’s happened in Exmouth and in Seaton” and “I don’t care what baggage EDDC brings with it. This is Sidmouth, and we will get it right”.
With this somewhat parochial assurance, the discussion was closed.”