Sidmouth charity shop plans branded “hideous”

11:24 04 November 2012

“HIDEOUS” proposals to alter an historic shopfront so a Devon Air Ambulance outlet can be opened in Sidmouth have attracted a flurry of objections.

The popular charity wants to set up shop in the former Julian Graves Healthfoods premises in Church Street.

Air ambulance bosses have applied for planning permission to change the shopfront to allow a larger shop floor.

Proposed work would see the existing windows straightened, with work to ensure it is “structurally sound”.

But objectors fear the effect the possible change will have on a unique shopping area in the town.

Supporters of the cause have in turn spoken of the importance of Sidmouth residents being able to show their support for the life-saving project.

Jon Brewer slammed the proposal as “bland” in his submission to East Devon District Council, adding: “This is an historic shopfront in the heart of historic Sidmouth.

“Sidmouth is not so desperate for more charity shops that it needs to allow its heritage to be trashed, just to accommodate another one.”

Fellow objector Robin Farrant said: “I cannot see how such a nondescript, featureless, lacklustre, plain, straight frontage can be in keeping with the allure and antiquated charm of this lovely building.”

And Yvonne Price argued that: “In essence this proposal would strip this fine building of its allure and traditional good looks and adversely impact on the local conservation area it sits within.

“It will significantly detract from the appeal of what is a beautiful, quaint and attractive street loved by many and will devalue one of Sidmouth’s nicest assets. Do we really want Sidmouth to look like any old faceless town centre high street?”

The plans were described as “hideous” by Roger Till.

But in a declaration of support, Simon Card said: “Devon Air Ambulance provides an invaluable service and none of their funding comes from Government sources so fundraising is entirely dependent upon voluntary contributions and shops that provide a key input in to that funding.

“There is presently no shop in Sidmouth and a strong need from the residents and those that visit the area to have the facility of a shop so that they can support this important charity.”

Plans state an intention to reuse the leaded windows and marble stallrisers to “retain as many of the current features as possible and to ensure that the character of the property remains in keeping with its surroundings”.

Nine people had objected and two had supported the plans this week.

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