“There is massive unrest in Sid Valley over plans top build an industrial estate at Sidford
Fords of Sidmouth wants to build industrial, storage and distribution units totalling 22,800 square metres on agricultural land to the east of Two Bridges Road.
The fourth generation business employs around 70 people, carrying out plumbing and electrical engineering work across the district.
However, various groups East Devon are strongly concerned about the project with regards to a possible risk of flooding, traffic congestion, pollution and the impact on a designated area of outstanding natural beauty.
Sidford Social Hall saw a massive gathering of objectors on Monday.
Among the speakers at the Public Meeting, organised by Sid Valley Residents and chaired by Cathy Debenham, was Alan Green, the Director of the Norman Lockyer Observatory
He said the light pollution from the development would be “a total disaster” for the observatory and will “destroy us after 104 years.”
Marianne Rixson, East Devon District Councillor for Sidmouth and Sidford, added that Exeter and Honiton currently have 1.6 million square feet of available employment units, and that meant the area “did not any more.”
Pam Ward, a governor of Sidbury School, said that the increased traffic, including HGV’s, would become a serious safety issue for local children.
As a result of the meeting many said they were likely to ‘boycott’ Fords, and even calls for an eventual public enquiry.
They will also urge planners to impose restrictions on how big the industrial units can be over worries they will dwarf their surroundings.
There are already over 150 objections filed on the council website.
A planning document submitted earlier this year by agents Context Logic, of Colaton Raleigh, said Fords & Sons plans to make a “substantial capital investment in delivering an employment site for Sidmouth.”
They added: “The proposal would generate jobs and opportunities for new and expanding businesses in Sidmouth. In total, the business park could create as many as 300 jobs over both phases throughout the local plan period.
“The park would offer business support facilities for the wider business community and it is hoped that the Business Support Centre would become a popular and well used asset.
“The future detailed applications will seek to create a business park with the highest regard given to design, energy efficiency, safety and security and will look to support a vibrant economy for Sidford and Sidmouth.”
The application will be decided in the coming weeks.
We have approached Fords of Sidmouth for comment.”