Local planning authority’s concerns over a potentially lethal combination of narrow roads and increased heavy goods vehicle usage has resulted in refusal of Sidford business park planning application

East Devon District Council has today (16 October 2018), refused an application for outline planning permission for the Sidford employment site ( – Land East of Two Bridges, Sidford – on the grounds of harm to highway safety, relating to increased heavy goods vehicle (HGVs) usage of the area’s narrow roads. The decision was made by officers with the Chairman of Development Management Committee in accordance with the Council’s Constitution. The meeting was attended by ward members, Cllr David Barratt and Cllr Stuart Hughes.

Details of the application can be viewed on the online applications page of the East Devon website - insert application reference 18/1094/MOUT.

The site is allocated in the adopted East Devon Local Plan and is acceptable in principle, but the allocation is primarily for light industrial uses. The applicants included a significant amount of warehouse space in their application, which would be reliant on HGVs to deliver goods to the site and then distribute them from there. Devon County Council, as Highway Authority, objected to the application based on the number of HGVs likely to be generated by the proposal, which significantly exceeds the figure envisaged when the site was allocated. East Devon District Council has agreed that the numbers of HGVs combined with the narrow roads, both in the vicinity of the site and through Sidbury, would lead to conflict between vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians to the detriment of highway safety, and it was on this basis that the application was turned down.

The planning application has generated comments from 369 people and organisations, of which 255 were objecting to the proposal. A petition of 1,398 residents of the Sidford area and over 200 signatures from the wider area was also received. There were a wide range of objections raised to the application, including concerns regarding flood risk, visual impact, impact upon listed buildings, impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty, light and noise pollution and questions over the need for the business park, which the council considered in detail - many of them having also been considered through the Local Plan examination.

However, the council concluded that the application is acceptable in terms of these matters, with only highways safety amounting to a reason for refusal. In order to progress the development, the applicant now has the choice of appealing against the council’s decision or submitting a revised application to address the concerns raised. Any appeal or further application will be publicised in the usual way and there will be a further opportunity for comments to be made and considered by the council or a Planning Inspector in the case of a an appeal.

Councillor Mike Howe, Chairman of East Devon’s Development Management Committee, said:

I recognise that there is a lot of local opposition to the provision of a business park on this site, but its inclusion in the Local Plan follows an examination by an independent Planning Inspector and the suitability of the site was confirmed by him. Sidmouth needs space to support local businesses and provide jobs and this site is the best location to do that. There were many varied objections to this application but it is only the high level of HGVs that would be drawn to the site, which justifies its refusal.