Non-commercial organisations given six months to come forward with a bid while marketing to commercial property sector will be three months

In early 2017, a scoping study around Sidmouth’s Port Royal area was commissioned by Sidmouth Town and East Devon District Councils and included 18 months of consultation, communication and engagement with the local community to find out what they would like to see there.

As a result of hearing what local people wanted and also acknowledging the constraints of the site including increased risk of flooding, a lack of financial viability in relation to large scale mixed use development and existing covenants, it was agreed that the original proposals should be ruled out.

At the same time, the general consensus during last Summer’s consultation process in the town was that improvement needs to happen and East Devon District Council, as owner of the redundant Drill Hall site at Port Royal, would carry out a marketing exercise seeking appropriate uses that would add attraction to the area such as a high quality restaurant / bar development or similar.

Proposals are now being sought for the Drill Hall as the district council has selected a property marketing advisor for the site.

Earlier this year the council agreed to allow a six-month marketing process for non-commercial and commercial bids to come forward for the Drill Hall.

Exeter-based JLL, who are experienced in commercial property, are the new appointees and on their advice the council will be marketing the building to non-commercial organisations immediately giving them a longer period to come up with their proposals, and the commercial property sector for a shorter period of time from the autumn.

Local community groups who may be interested in the site can approach JLL for guidance about the information required from them, if they want to put in a bid in six months’ time.  The deadline for submitting non-commercial and commercial bids is January 11, 2019. East Devon is working closely with the town council on the marketing of the site.

Cllr Jeff Turner of Sidmouth Town Council said:

I’m pleased to see that the six month period has now started for the local community in Sidmouth to come forward with any ideas they may have.  This commences the next stage of the process in finding a way forward for this area of the seafront which is of significant interest to a great many people in Sidmouth.

Cllr Philip Skinner, Deputy Leader of East Devon District Council and its economy portfolio holder said:

I’m delighted that we are now able to offer this opportunity for the local community in Sidmouth to come forward during the next six months with their ideas for the site.   Our property advisor will be available to offer guidance to interested parties and I look forward to seeing a range of proposals when the marketing period concludes in January next year.