Capturing character is a fundamental criterion when managing growth – Creating Excellence supported the community in the preparation of the Sid Valley Place Analysis to support the preparation of the now complete Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan.
The Sid Valley is comprised of four distinct but connected areas; the seaside resort of Sidmouth and the rural villages of Salcombe Regis, Sidford and Sidbury. The area has a wealth of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture which in Sidmouth, contributes to a high-status townscape of national significance. The town has a wide range of retail businesses, and offers high quality year-round accommodation of different types. The area is renowned for its outstanding natural environment and quality of life for those who live and visit. It has a strong tourism sector which has the potential to grow and diversify. To meet the needs of the community the Sid Valley requires carefully balanced development providing suitable affordable housing for residents both young and old. Our vision through the Neighbourhood Plan promotes quality employment opportunities, revitalises tourism and connects people with what the Sid Valley has to offer.
Our vision is of a Sid Valley that maintains and promotes its rural and coastal beauty and its welcoming community, and advances its appeal to young and old providing quality of life, work and visitor experience. This vision conserves and enhances our picturesque location on the Jurassic Coast. It nurtures and promotes the ambience of our community to which both residents and visitors connect. To realise our vision, our Neighbourhood Plan encourages changes which benefit our community; children and young people and families and older people and the economy. Appropriate developments should complement and protect our natural environment whilst improving the existing built environment in our town and villages in both scale and character. Development should reinvigorate the Eastern End of Sidmouth, known as Port Royal, to become a culturally vibrant centre for the community and visitors, incorporating facilities with links to the sea.
In December 2016 Creating Excellence were commissioned by the Steering Group to prepare a Place Analysis to inform the development of the Neighbourhood Plan. This study was aimed at helping to answer the question ‘How can new development in the Sid Valley support and enhance the unique character of the Parish?’. To do this, the ‘urban structure’ of the Sid Valley Parish and settlements were analysed to help uncover what makes the Parish and Settlements recognisable as a distinct and memorable place.
The first round of consultation for the SVNP identified how the sense of community and friendliness of the area was highly valued along with the unique built and natural environments. The wide range of recreational and cultural activities were also identified as attracting both residents and visitors. The need to improve infrastructure was also identified and was a concern that had also featured strongly in the 2006 Vision for Sidmouth. For this reason, we chose to document urban and landscape character alongside community and cultural assets and destinations, focusing on four tests of environmental quality; character, climate, community and connectivity. The analysis was made mainly at two scales one covering the Sid Valley another at the scale of the individual settlements. The place analysis focuses in more detail on the settlements with the parish of Sidmouth and Sidford, Sidbury and Salcombe Regis. This focuses on the relationship between settlement and landscape and the role of landscape within the settlement and their built character. Strategic design guidance is also developed for pivotal development sites such as Port Royal, Eastern Town. The full analysis can be viewed here: