Hopes to return former Sidmouth gardens and amphitheatre areas to their former glory at the Knowle have been revived.
Sidmouth Town Council (STC) has officially taken over the management and conservation of the Knowle Parkland, formerly owned by East Devon District Council (EDDC).
STC now hopes to involve the local community as part of its plans to improve natural biodiversity, adding paths and trails throughout the parkland for the public to enjoy. There are also plans to increase the parking available in the lower car park on the site.
Chair of STC, Councillor Chris Lockyear said:
“STC is delighted the transfer of the Knowle Parkland is finally complete. The town council will do all it can to manage and enhance the parkland for the enjoyment of all parts of our community.”
Cllr Paul Hayward, EDDC’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Assets, said:
“The transfer of the parkland took place on 8 December 2023. EDDC vacated the site in February 2019 when they relocated to purpose-built offices in Honiton.
Between February 2019 and the Transfer in December 2023, Devon County Council undertook their flood attenuation project. This innovative scheme allows during extreme rainfall events surface water from the higher ground to the north of the Town to be temporarily stored in an underground storage tank in the Knowle Arena site. This scheme reduces the flood risk to over 100 properties within Sidmouth, helping to minimise vulnerability of residents and businesses whilst improving resilience to climate change. A landscaped amphitheatre has been constructed over the attenuation tank, which can be used for public performances including theatre and music events. This is a great asset now for the town and we wish the Town council and the local community the very best in further enhancing this parkland.”