A stark illustration of the potential value of gaining planning permission. – Owl
Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com
The site of a hugely controversial new business park on the edge of a Devon village has been placed on the market. Former farmland in Sidford, earmarked for the Sidford Business Park, has been put on for sale for £4m.
The plans divided the village and had been refused by East Devon District Council because of concerns over dangers from increased HGV traffic through Sidbury and Sidford as a result of the development. There are also worries about the visual impact, as it is in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.’
But a planning inspector overturned that decision on appeal – one that was described as “basically a two fingers up to the Sid Valley”. A reserved matters application for the details and design of the business park scheme was approved earlier this year.
The scheme was set to see 8,445sqm of employment space built on the outskirts of the village and create 250 new jobs. But now, it seems that it may not go ahead after all, as owners Tim and Mike Ford are selling off the land at Two Bridges Road.
It is understood the pair have decided instead to focus on improvements to the existing Alexandria Industrial Estate in Sidmouth, instead which they own. A planning application for a new access road to make getting in and out of the site easier has been submitted.
The 8,445-square-metre site in Sidford, where some flood improvement work has already been completed, is being marketed as an ‘oven ready’ brownfield site. While it has planning permission for employment use, the sale brochure says that the access is most likely to be suitable for Residential use.
It states: “The owner of the site is a fourth-generation employment land owner of another employment site in Sidmouth. This other site, known as the Alexandria Industrial Estate, is now determined by the owner to be the best location for further employment investment. The proceeds from the sale of land at Sidford will assist employment investment in this alternative location.
“Consequently, the land at Sidford is now offered as an exciting opportunity to an investor who can quickly engage with the Local Plan Review by making appropriate representations. The site is to be sold via an informal tender and offers are invited to be placed on an Option or Subject to Planning basis by February 10, 2023.”
The behavior of the Fords is beyond words. They have expected to earn their living from the local population, for whom they have no respect, neither for our local environment. Meantime, their planning application, which was turned down by East Devon District Council amidst huge opposition from the local community for the project, is now for sale for a very large sum after gaining permission from a Planning Inspector on appeal . Their suggestion is that it could be used for more housing on precious green fields. It is contemptible to offer it as a”brown field site” just because they had gained planning permission for an industrial site which as yet does not exist. My existing vow never to shop at Fords is now a firm commitment.
I thought Sidford was a hamlet. When did it become a village as described in the above article?