Articles in Sidmouth Herald 13
December 2013, concerning the land proposed for the new campsite.
These articles follow the decision by the
Licensing Committee of East Devon District Council on 10 December 2013 to allow the use of
the proposed new campsite at the top of Salcombe Hill. Many objections were received and
local feeling at the time was very much against the idea - mainly citing concerns about
traffic and risks on the very steep narrow hill leading from Sidmouth as well as
disruption to the normally sleepy village of Salcombe Regis itself. Amongst the 'farcical'
aspects of the application were cited:
- the argument put forward by FolkWeek
organisers that the new site would avoid the dangers of people crossing the Bulverton Road
late at night to get back to the (present) campsite (which are slight risks and on a flat
road with good visibility),
- the lack of a proper traffic management plan
for Salcombe Hill or Salcombe Regis village available in time for the licensing committee
- the fact that the EDDC pdf runs to 162 pages
- mostly full of inane local council 'twaddle' and with no substantive consideration of
the principal problem of public safety - the conflict between maybe hundreds of people
walking up and down Salcombe Hill especially in the dark and the inevitable motor vehicle
traffic including heavily laden minibuses (if, as seems to be proposed, they use that
- the perceived conflict between what is good
or convenient for the festival organisers and what is in the best interests of residents
and the town of Sidmouth itself. Whilst the proposed new campsite location would be more
convenient to service, and would offer benefits of convenience to some (not all) festival
patrons, the number of residents disrupted and the scope for 'illegal' or nuisance camping
nearby would be greater.
The pdf link to the agenda for the 10 December meeting on the EDDC website is here.
Site move plan for Sidmouth FolkWeek
A LICENCE for Sidmouth FolkWeek to leave its
long-term Bulverton base for Salcombe Regis has been granted - despite widespread
opposition from nearby residents.
Organisers hope to move the festival across town in time for its 60th anniversary to allow
it to expand and secure its future. Festival director John Braithwaite said it will be a
wholesale transfer of the operation at Bulverton, which has gone on largely without
incident or complaint for many years.
He said the Bulverton site is on a steep incline and only 70 per cent can be occupied,
whereas Salcombe Hill is flatter and has better drainage. The new 13-acre site has won a
licence to provide entertainment and refreshment into the early hours to 1,500 revellers.
His colleague John Radford said a traffic management plan for the week had been finalised
with Devon County Council on Monday, but was not ready for consideration before the
This attracted criticism, but the councillors verified that the plan had been approved
before making their decision. As a result of suggestions from one resident at a mediation
meeting, manned traffic lights are set to be installed at two pinch points on Salcombe
Hill Road and the 60mph speed limit will be cut to 30mph. Large vehicles will be escorted
by marshals and the double decker buses of previous years are being replaced with two
minibuses for between 16 and 24 people. Licensing subcommittee chairman Steve Hall said
there were no relevant licensing objections and there was no alternative but to grant the
The committee was convinced by the event organisers' history of responsibility and a lack
of objections from the police or county council highways authority. Speaking after the
meeting on Tuesday, festival director John Braithwaite said: "We were delighted with
the decision. It reflects the amount of effort we have put in to ensure that Salcombe
Regis is the right site. We will now look at the next stage of our planning."
Objectors brand move 'irresponsible'
OBJECTIONS to the application ranged from illegal camping and litter to traffic chaos and
noise carrying across the valley. More than 60 letters were submitted against the plans,
and the points were summarised by four speakers at the licensing meeting.
Southway resident Diane Janes said the organisers could not simply assume that any site
they chose was suitable for such a large scale event, and added that while FolkWeek has an
existing alternative site, the residents of the 300 closest homes have nowhere else to go.
Ms Janes said the lack of access to the traffic management plan at the meeting was an
'insurmountable issue' and they could not be expected to take the applicants' word.
"To grant the application would be grossly irresponsible," she said.
Richard Huntington said Salcombe Hill Road is only wide enough for one vehicle, and trying
to reverse a caravan down it would be 'difficult, if not impossible'. He added that large
vehicles are advised not to use the road, and that Sidmouth Town Council has previously
considered a compulsory purchase order to add a passing place.
"We are faced with large numbers of visitors travelling from Salcombe Regis
recreational field at night along a road entirely unsuitable for the purpose," said
He was also concerned about emergency access, and said one resident is a healthcare
specialist who is on call 24 hours a day.
Alastair Letty added: "The move will compound an already intolerable problem."
Objectors said it is 'only a matter or time' before there is a serious accident on
Salcombe Hill Road, and the likelihood of it happening is increased with the increased
volume of traffic and the inebriated pedestrians.
They are looking at appealing the decision and will have another chance to speak out when
a planning application is submitted.
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