Letter in Sidmouth Herald 6 December 2013, concerning the land proposed for the new campsite.

The letter is of little importance - merely a resident clutching at straws over why the fields at the top of Salcombe Hill should not be used by FolkWeek. As for "exploiting a beautiful location for financial gain" - is this what the National Trust does at all its properties that are open to the public and at which an entrance fee is charged?

Regarding the relocation of Sidmouth FolkWeek campsite to Salcombe Hill.

The National Trust purchased the fields at the top of Salcombe Hill (the site of the proposed new campsite for Sidmouth FolkWeek,) together with the surrounding woodland, for 45,700 in 1986. Presumably this amount came from money given by supporters of the National Trust, in the belief that their donations would be used solely for the protection of the natural environment and historic buildings in their care.

The terms of the conveyance, drawn up at the time of the purchase, stipulate that the land should only be used for the purposes of ‘agriculture forestry or amenity open space’. Camping in these fields could loosely be seen as the amenity of the open space.

In April 2012 East Devon District Council commissioned the East Devon Open Space Study and nowhere in this report does it justify the letting for profit of amenity open space or for access to it to be privately operated and exclusive. In fact, it is defined as the opposite.

The National Trust cannot be ignorant of the interdependence of the campsite location with the late-night entertainment marquee. By the inappropriate exploitation of this beautiful and tranquil location for financial gain, I believe the National Trust is not only acting against the spirit of the 1986 conveyance but also failing the expectations of everyone who donates to them to avoid precisely this happening.

Anne Chapman
Sidmouth


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