Many comments, emails and letters have been received in support of the campaign to save the Drill Hall. Here is a selection.
Public and Consultant comments in response to the initial application by EDDC for demolition can be viewed at http://planning.eastdevon.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=neighbourComments&keyVal=MBXVKEGH09100
“As a teenager (somewhere in the early 1990’s), I have really clear memories of the hot summer in which I really bonded with my mother. There were a load of dances and workshops held in the Drill Hall to which we attended together – from Scottish Dancing to Belly Dancing. I remember the building rattling in enthusiasm as the jigs and reels were spun on its floors. We’d turn out onto the front to watch the gulls drift over the sea while we caught our breath. This is truly a prime location, what better use than a place for the whole community to create memories within?”
Cat Radford, Great Western Morris
“I write to express my disappointment that an important landmark of Sidmouth, the Sidmouth Drill Hall, has been marked for demolition. As a regular at Sidmouth Folk Festival, it is buildings like this that make Sidmouth an attractive place to come in the summer. If your town is gradually taken over by new builds, its importance as a holiday destination is also likely to be lost, along with the important tourist income that goes with it. Coming from Faversham in Kent, where the council tried to knock down Abbey Street in the 1960s – now one of the most complete medieval streets in England – and it was only saved by the community coming together to object, I can say that there is plenty of precedent in the long term for joy over old buildings saved and disappointment over important buildings lost to future generations. While I am sure the short term financial gains for the council are considerable, it would be appreciated by generations to come, if you could try to take a longer view and understand that it is buildings that often give us a sense of our own history, continuity, stability and a sense of place. A town can completely lose its character by the drip-drip of one building after another being taken down. No one building seems important enough to save but together they made the town unique. At some point someone has to say no. This is that time. I hope sincerely that you do the right thing and save this important building”. Terry O’Brien
“Before the last lot of flats were built at the eastern end of the Esplanade in the 80s Sidmouth dwindled off to the east in a rambling area of low rise buildings behind which Pennington Point rose in majesty. This diminuation of the manmade accentuated the beauty of the cliffs, as the high rise buildings extended the Ham end began to feel more cramped and the cliff was more difficult to appreciate. I am certain that any development at Port Royal which is of greater height or denser than that which is currently there will produce an uncomfortable cramped effect. This would reduce the attraction to visitors who travel the coastal path and those who view it from the sea, including those who will travel on the new coastal ‘ferry’. The Drill Hall should be retained. It has been there for a long time (I have old postcards which show the development of that area in the early 1900s) and in my opinion it should be listed”. Mary Warden-Till