New redevelopment plans announced for former East Devon District Council site

The redevelopment of The Knowle in Sidmouth looks set to be revived by a partnership between McCarthy Stone, the developer and manager of retirement communities, and the care home company Porthaven. 

Philippa Davies

They have acquired an interest in land at the site and are working up proposals to redevelop it with specialist retirement housing. 

The plans include a purpose-built care home, retirement living apartments and affordable housing.   

The site already has planning permission for an assisted living scheme which was granted at appeal in 2018 and was being progressed by the property developer LifeStory – but the company said in March last year that it was ‘reviewing the consented development’. It has now sold the site to McCarthy Stone. 

The principle of the site’s redevelopment has also been established within East Devon District Council’s Local Plan for the period up to 2031, adopted in January 2016.  

The site consists of a variety of disused buildings that were formerly used as offices by East Devon District Council. It is considered suitable for older persons’ accommodation, and is near local services and the town centre. 

McCarthy Stone and Porthaven say they will soon begin a pre-application community consultation programme, to ensure that the revised proposals respond to the concerns raised by the community when the original consent was granted.  

This includes creating a better relationship with the occupants of neighbouring properties as well as the wider community, stakeholders, East Devon District Council officers and Sidmouth Town Council over the coming months, and drawing up proposals for a high-quality, specialist retirement scheme which also contributes towards Sidmouth’s housing needs.  

Shane Paull, Divisional Managing Director for McCarthy Stone Southern, said: “We are delighted that we have acquired an interest in The Knowle site. We are committed to bringing forward its development, which presents an exciting opportunity to meet a strong local need for specialist retirement living accommodation.  

“Over the coming weeks we will be sharing our initial proposals for the site, that seek to propose a sensitive, well-designed development that will help improve accommodation choice for older people in the local area.”