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Sidmouth Rockfish approved

Tuesday, 4 February 2020 13:14

By Daniel Clark, Local Democracy Reporting Service

It will be on the site of Drill Hall.

Planning officers had recommended that the plans be approved, and the 14-strong committee unanimously agreed with them.

The sale of Drill Hall to Rockfish by the council can now be concluded, and they now can carry out the refurbishment and conversion of it into another of their high quality and popular restaurants.

Cllr Denise Bickley called for the committee to approve the application. She said: “I hope this is granted today as the regeneration of the derelict Drill Hall will transform the Port Royal area. The building pulls down the area, so let us allow the regeneration as soon as possible and not delay it for another summer in our beautiful town.”

Cllr David Key quickly recommended approval, saying: “It will improve the area and bring the building into good use,” while Cllr Tom Wright said: “The plans will greatly enhance the area.”

The restaurant will operate in the same successful formula as the other Rockfish restaurants in Dartmouth, Plymouth, Torquay, Exmouth, Plymouth, Weymouth and Exeter, and investment into the Sidmouth project will be in excess of £1m and there will be the creation of 30-40 local jobs, the committee were told.

Recommending approval, Chris Rose, development manager, said: ““The proposal is considered to reflect policies within the Neighbourhood Plan that support commercial properties in this location that reflect the fishing and coastal history and with retained linkages to the town centre.

“The use would be sympathetic to neighbouring uses and would retain the historic value of the building and bringing the building back into use is a positive for the area and local economy.”

The plans were unanimously approved and the decision has been welcomed by fellow councillors.

Cllr Geoff Pook, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for asset management, said: “I am delighted that Rockfish have been granted planning permission for the Drill Hall site in Sidmouth. The Drill Hall has been empty for some years now and the opening of a new Rockfish restaurant on this site will be an excellent addition to Sidmouth seafront, bringing new visitors to the town and creating new jobs.”

Sidmouth Town ward member Cllr Cathy Gardner, added: “I’m delighted that the old Drill Hall is finally going to get a new lease of life. This restaurant will greatly improve Port Royal and I know many residents are keen to see it open as soon as possible.”

When the plans were submitted last summer, Mr Tonks said: “The Drill Hall is a unique site that has been empty for a long time, it has the most unique features that we are looking to retain and enhance as part of our scheme so as we can bring the building back to its former glory.

“Sidmouth is a wonderful seaside town that fits our ethos of fresh fish being eaten by the sea and if our application is successful, we are very much looking forward to making Rockfish Sidmouth a leading seafood destination and a community asset.”


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