• King’s students bid for factory site community use

    17th January 2013 | News | Claire
  • Accompanied by teacher, Jo Elliott, the four year eight students – Shannon Richardson, Louise Isley, Chelsea Trimsouth and Tom Forrest Robinson and year 11 student – Alfie Weaver students presented their ideas to councillors at an Ottery St Mary Town Council planning meeting.

    Developers have applied to build 100 residential units on the site and on the car park behind the Tumbling Weir Hotel, as well as accommodation at the end of Victoria Terrace.

    The Environment Agency has ruled that residential accommodation cannot be at ground floor level because of the risk of flooding from the river Otter.

    The developer is proposing to use the ground floor as storage.

    At the Ottery Town Council meeting the King’s students argued that there should be community use instead for the building.

    After the meeting, Mrs Elliott explained:  “The students and I were given a three minute slot where we discussed using the ground floor as a multi-purpose community facility if this was at all possible.

    “They had ideas about using it as an outdoor gallery for all the artists in the community, working with the local heritage group having a rolling exhibition, an outdoor/indoor cinema screen where you could project on the walls, a concert arena, a bowling alley, a cyber cafe and a swimming pool.

    “Alfie spoke about the potential financial benefits and sustainability of the area and how it could bring the community even closer.

    “The councillors said the students had given them real food for thought and how using the ground floor just for storage or offices seemed dull by comparison. They agreed that students could be consulted at future meetings.”

    At the political speed dating event at King’s in October, many of the students were asking what I might do to help with providing more facilities for young people.  It is brilliant that they took the opportunity to come along on Monday evening and successfully persuaded councillors of the benefits of using the ground floor for community use, which is the obvious location for such a facility. 

    Let’s hope the proposal is supported by the decision-makers at EDDC!

    Councillors supported the application to redevelop the factory site, with some reservations on the detail.

    Photograph:  The derelict Ottermill Switchgear site.