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12/2262/CAC | Demolition of former drill hall building | Former Sidmouth Drill Hall The Esplanade Sidmouth
  • Total Consulted: 7
  • Consultees Responded: 0
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Sidmouth Town - Cllr P Sullivan

Consultation Date: Tue 16 Oct 2012

Sidmouth Town - Cllr S Kerridge

Consultation Date: Tue 16 Oct 2012

Sidmouth Town - Cllr F Newth

Comment Date: Fri 23 Mar 2018

I would support this application and would also be in full agreement with Sidmouth Town Councils Comments.
Cllr Frances Newth Sidmouth Town Ward Member
Dated: 16.11.2012

Devon County Archaeologist

Comment Date: Tue 13 Nov 2012

The building to be demolished dates to the late 19th century and its original function was as a drill hall, but has undergone changes in use from the early 20th century including use as a cinema and is currently vacant. The building lies within the Sidmouth Conservation Area and, as such, I would in the first instance advise that the East Devon Conservation Officer was consulted with regard to any comments they may have on the impact of the loss of this building to the Conservation Area.
However, the Historic Environment Team has no objection to the demolition of the building, but given the proposed loss of this, albeit altered, historic building and in accordance with paragraph 141 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2012) I would advise that any consent your Authority may be minded to issue should carry the condition as worded below, based on model Condition 55 as set out in Appendix A of Circular 11/95 and English Heritage guidance as set out in 'Understanding Historic Buildings: Policy and Guidance for Local Planning Authorities - 2008', whereby:

"No development to which this permission relates shall commence until an appropriate programme of historic building recording and analysis has been secured and implemented in accordance with a written scheme of investigation which has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority.

The development shall be carried out at all times in strict accordance with the approved scheme, or such other details as may be subsequently agreed in writing by the District Planning Authority.
Reason: 'To ensure that an appropriate record is made of the historic building fabric that may be affected by the development'
I would envisage a suitable programme of work as taking the form of a rapid photographic and written record of the former drill hall to be undertaken in advance of any demolition work. The results of this fieldwork and any post-excavation analysis undertaken would need to be presented in an appropriately detailed and illustrated report.
I will be happy to discuss this further with you, the applicant or their agent. We can provide the applicant with a Brief setting out the scope of the works required, as well as contact details for archaeological contractors who would be able to undertake this work.

Parish/Town Council

Comment Date: Thu 08 Nov 2012

(1 letter of comment received)


Comment Date: Thu 01 Nov 2012

The former drill hall appears on the 1890 OS map and is marked as 'drill hall'. Architecturally it is quite unremarkable, particularly with the alterations that have taken place over the years. The front elevation retains a rendered finish with moulded window surrounds. The windows have been replaced but would have had timber sliding sashes judging by the aperture proportions and design of the replacements. The side elevations are constructed in brick with a thin cement render coat. This is a prominent building at the end of The Esplanade and makes a neutral contribution to the significance of the conservation area.


The principle of demolition needs to be considered following a proper assessment of its significance within the conservation area. I do not consider that this has been done properly in accordance with government guidance in the NPPF and the EH practice guide. Understanding the significance of an asset should consider all aspects including the historical, cultural, aesthetic and archaeological significance of the asset. The English Heritage Practice Guide outlines in section 5 how the significance of assets should be properly assessed. While an assessment may very well conclude that the aesthetic significance is limited the cultural significance of the former use of the building may be considered important. Is this a particularly rare survival of this building type and how important has its role been in the cultural heritage of the town? This needs to be assessed and measured before demolition can be properly considered.

It is conceded that the building is in a poor state of repair. No structural report has been produced to confirm its structural integrity and therefore there may be potential for its adaption and re-use. Policy 130 of the NPPF advocates that the condition of a heritage asset should not be taken into account in any decision if the cause has been deliberate neglect. The reasons for the condition of the building are not known but since it has not been well-maintained in recent years should not necessarily be justification for its demolition. I would also advocate that evidence is presented to demonstrate that alternative uses have been sought and suitably dismissed.

PROVISIONAL RECOMMENDATION - PROPOSAL UNACCEPTABLE unless a cogent case can be presented for demolition.

Devon County Highway Authority

Comment Date: Fri 26 Oct 2012

Does not wish to comment.

an Idox solution