(c) Alex Vick

Please sign Dale Coleman’s petition, as featured in the Sidmouth Herald last week, to keep the Drill Hall in the community.

Sign it by clicking on this link

Please make sure you visit Mary Walden-Till’s excellent website on the history of the Drill Hall and the surrounding area http://drillhall.historic-sidmouth.uk/

This site and Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub CIC has nothing to do with Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub.

Matt Booth, March 2018

At 1st March 2018

Please visit https://sidmouthdrillhall.com/community-bid-funding-and-pl for a copy of the draft Profit and Loss for a Community Bid for the Drill Hall as mentioned recently in the Sidmouth Herald. It is in pdf format and can be found at the bottom of the page.

Finally. A great result. One that most all of Sidmouth will be incredibly relieved about. Hate to say I told you so but..

After 6 years of campaigning and maintaining a stance that the best route to regeneration at Port Royal, and to developing a space that will serve all members of the community, lay with the restoration and opening of the Drill Hall in order to increase visits and with it income, EDDC have finally dropped their plans – within the area ED03 in the Local Plan –  for a 30 apartment mixed use development on the site and will now put the Drill Hall on the market.

This not only marks a fantastic success for the area and all those that use it, but it also opens up a huge potential for a Community Bid to take the building back into the town’s hands and develop a multi purpose space that can be used by and for all.

In 2017, soon after the announcement of the Scoping Study and consultation, I met with the consultant hired by the Port Royal Reference Group to discuss the work that I had done and what I knew about the site. It was of little surprise to me that he had not been told that Port Royal sat in a conservation area, that the Ham and Drill Hall both had a covenant placed on them by George G Radford dating back to 1890, and that the Environment Agency had raised the flood zone level at Port Royal to the maximum zone level 3. In short, which we have no doubt went back to EDDC, no developer would risk spending money on that site and if they did they were very unlikely to get planning permission. The consultant agreed with me that the best route forward for regeneration of the area lay via the Drill Hall.

EDDC’s own statement following recent meetings with the consultant is as follows:

“The eastern end of Sidmouth has, for many years now, been a focus of town interest because of its comparatively run down nature. What both councils have learnt from this study is that renewal of the area is important to local people but brings with it some particular challenges which include:

  • The increased risk of flood to the area and the as yet to be resolved outcomes of the ongoing Beach Management Plan process
  • A lack of financial viability of large scale mixed-use  development on this location if affordable homes were included on or off-site
  • An existing covenant with a boundary which creates uncertainty on parts of the potential development area

With these complexities in mind, it is recommended to the councils that they do not pursue a comprehensive mixed-use site development.”

Following the recent article in the Sidmouth Herald I will, just as soon as I have worked out how, put up a very rough outline and very first draft proposed Profit & Loss here (it needs a lot of work) Community Bid Profit and Loss in pdf format. If you have any problems with it please contact me at info@sidmouthdrillhall.com  If you are interested in being involved in, or leading on, this then please get in touch. I will not be, but I can provide all information, financial and otherwise, steps and stages, and contacts required.

Below are a series of drawings by Alex Vick. Plus a very recent photograph from a town in England that is using the same source of grant funding currently available to do a very similar thing that promotes local produce and unites the community.

It is with great sadness that I must say that will not now be part of trying to take the Drill Hall forward, but I have provided a basic outline of available info and funds including a Profit & Loss over 5 year here and am very happy to help anyone that might want to.

Following a sustained series of campaigning in 2011 and 2012, I formed a board for what became Sidmouth Dill Hall Hub CIC to take the campaign and everything related to it forward. The first of these was the TourFish project.

In 2012, I returned from a conference in Rotterdam (my work is in fundraising and project management) with an invitation to join parters in Greenwich, Middelburg (Holland), Belgium, Brittany and Hastings in bidding for money from the EU to look collectively at regeneration in coastal areas. The bid was approved to 600,000 Euros. From it came the focus in Sidmouth via Sidmouth Trawlers on the fishing heritage of Sidmouth and from that the annual Sea Fest event which as well as fishing included all watersports in Sidmouth including the Gig, the Sailing Club and Jurassaic Paddle Sports.

However, as you will see at https://wp.me/P3e4zd-ct I was pushed out of my own company in January 2017 by the other members of the board and with it all related activity, including Sidmouth Sea Fest which was created by local chef Saul Vicary and I from a conversation over a garden fence in 2014.

To quote someone recently, ‘it is possible to take the future of where you live in your own hands and not lie down and let others benefit from it’. We have seen that happen at Knowle which has now gone. There is every opportunity now to ensure it doesn’t happen at Port Royal.



Shared Tables As Food Halls Thrive


Drill Hall at 31st January 2018

A quick update.

In 2011, EDDC announced that they were going to demolish the Drill Hall at Port Royal at the far eastern end of Sidmouth Esplanade and leave the space open to be used primarily as a boat park. There was no other proposal in place, and had their application for demolition been granted then the BagwelIs would have lost their fish shop, Sidmouth Trawlers, to the sea and storms over the winters that followed. It is and always has been protected by the Drill Hall. I started a campaign towards the end of 2011 and in April 2012 the Localism Act was passed that gave communities the right to create a bid over 3 years to purchase an asset of community value. It also provided the right for a community to bid to have an asset, or building, transferred free of charge to the community. In 2012 I started a campaign to save the Drill Hall and stop demolition and soon after due to a combination of the Localism Act, massive popular reaction against the demolition plans, and objections from the Conservation Officer and Hugo Swire MP the building was saved.

We are now in a position where, as you will no doubt now know


where both Sidmouth Town Council and East Devon Council have withdrawn their initial proposal for a large residential development of 30 apartments at Port Royal, as is in the Local Plan, and announced that they will be putting the Drill Hall on the market to be, as we have always said it should be, a cafe, bar and/or restaurant. They will also announce the opportunity for a community bid. We are unsure exactly what they intend but that should mean that the community has a period of time to compile a community group or trust that supports a board that works, with the trust and a range of funding sources including private and public, to raise the required funds to initially restore then open and make use of the building for everyone in the community.

There will be a Town Council meeting on Monday 5th February at Sidmouth Methodist Church Hall 


And an EDDC Cabinet meeting in the main Council Chamber at Knowle on Wednesday 7th February.


Click to access 070218combinedcabagendapublicvers.pdf

The Drill Hall situation will be discussed.

We strongly advise you, and ask you, to attend both of these meetings.

Drill Hall History

In the meantime, please have a look at Mary Walden-Till’s excellent website that shows the history and heritage of the Drill Hall, Port Royal and around Eastern Town.


Thank you

Matt Booth

All drawings (c) Alex Vick 2018



Port Royal Scoping Study – Public Consultation 26th and 27th June 2017 at Kennaway House, Sidmouth

Have Your Say!

On 14th June 2017 East Devon District Council announced dates for a public consultation on proposals by the contracted consultants Jillings Heynes Planning Ltd.

The public consultation will be held at Kennaway House, Sidmouth www.kennawayhouse.org.uk on 26th and 27th June 2017.

If you would like to see the Drill Hall restored and returned to the people of Sidmouth as part, or not, of an overall redevelopment of Port Royal then it is very important that you complete a questionnaire and get involved in the process.

Find out more at the East Devon website

and at the Sidmouth Town Council Port Royal page

Aylsham Town Council Buys Aylsham Drill Hall to Secure Its Future,,!

Aylsham Town Council has bought the town’s Drill Hall from Norfolk County Council and secured its future for the community.

Read all about it here !

Welcome to the website of Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub CIC

Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub Community Interest Company (CIC) grew out of the campaign to save the Drill Hall at the eastern end of Sidmouth seafront.

Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub CIC supports a responsible, considered and sustainable development of Port Royal and the Eastern Town of Sidmouth. We believe that such development and regeneration comes from maximising existing assets in order to establish an appropriate and inclusive environment that will lead to long-term community led redevelopment. To that end, we believe that regeneration of the area is best served via restoring and opening the Drill Hall at Port Royal as a community meeting, eating, arts, and heritage space.

You can support the campaign and be kept updated with developments by becoming a Friend at Friends of Sidmouth Drill Hall 

Photos from Sidmouth Sea Fest 2016 are now up in the Gallery on the Sea Fest website. Visit the website www.sidseafest.net for pictures and more.

Visit the ever growing Drill Hall research website about the history of the Drill Hall.

Download the iBooks version here of the new TourFish: Responsible Tourism Guide for Tourism & Sustainability in Small-Scale Fisheries and Agri-Food now!

Or in pdf format here RT Guide Full Version pdf

D9785-13_Tourfish_logo                      Mise en page 1

New Website

Please visit the new Drill Hall research website created by local historian Mary Walden-Till that is looking at the history of the building. Mary is working with a local architect on designs for the building and immediate area. These plans will be published here and on Mary’s website soon.

Economic Evidence Report

As part of the TourFish project a consultant was commissioned to write an Economic Evidence report on the Drill Hall. You can download that report here SDH EVR March 2016 print version

1905 postmark detail

Sidmouth Drill Hall 1905 (10 years after it was built)

The Drill Hall was scheduled for demolition in 2012. We were able to get a stay of demolition in order to protect the Sidmouth Trawlers business that is located directly behind the building which provides them with essential protection from the sea, and to raise awareness of the history of the area and the potential of the building and Port Royal area. Since 2012 we have run a series of projects to raise awareness of the potential of the building and the Port Royal area as a whole. These have included the Fish Wall project, the Sidmouth Sea Fest annual event, and bringing the EU funded TourFish project to Sidmouth with partners from Holland, Hastings, France, Belgium and the University of Greenwich.

Download the TourFish project report Executive Summary here TourFish-Responsible-Tourism-Guide-Executive-Summary_ENG 

Download the Drill Hall Evidence Base Report from the TourFish project here SDH report FINAL 13 May 2015

We will be publishing the report in full as part of Sidmouth Climate Week at Kennaway House in Sidmouth on Wednesday 9th March 2016 from 6.30pm.

Regeneration of Port Royal and Eastern Town

We are working with an architect towards developing a wider vision for Port Royal and Eastern Town beyond redevelopment of Sidmouth Drill Hall. This includes consideration of the future of the toilet block to the east side of the Drill Hall and considered use of the whole of the turning circle area. This could include; a cycle hire space, where the toilet block currently is, to encourage cycling from Port Royal around Sidmouth and up the Byes to Sidford; pedestrianising the area from Ham Lane across the turning circle to create a wider area for tables outside of the Drill Hall linked to the Sailing Club and cycle hire; a community garden area at the back of the Drill Hall by the Fishermen’s Yard to include growing food for the Drill Hall kitchen (herbs, salad); and a consideration of the whole of the Port Royal with the Sailing Club, Gig Club and Lifeboat.

Current Exterior of the Drill Hall

Current Exterior of the Drill Hall

Architect's vision phase 2 Drill Hall Interior (c) Alex Vick

Architect’s vision phase 2 Drill Hall Interior (c) Alex Vick

Architect's vision phase 2 Drill Hall exterior front (c) Alex Vick

George Woolley crpd Jack Collier crpd Tom Westlake crpd2

Sidmouth ‘Woolleys’ Knitting Patterns

The first knitting patterns for our new Sidmouth ‘Woolleys’ will be available online soon. We are looking at the patterns again since we launched the project at Sea Fest last May as we have had a couple of issues coming back from our knitting group.

We completed and sold our first ‘Sidmouth Woolleys’ to very satisfied customers in time for Christmas.

Our first ‘Woolleys’ have been created from original jumpers worn by local fishermen George Woolley, Jack Collier (both from Sidmouth) and Tom Westlake (from Beer).

Please contact us for more information info@sidmouthdrillhall.org

George Woolley crpd Jack Collier crpd Tom Westlake crpd2 Sidmouth Woolleys - 'Collier' new 1 Sidmouth Woolleys - 'Westlake' new 1

Read About the New Unit in Sidmouth Diary


If you live in or around Sidmouth you may have seen our new unit at Libra Court featured in the new issue of Sidmouth Diary.

You can download the feature here Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub Sidmouth Diary

Come and visit us! The unit is currently closed but we are trying to keep it open every Saturday. Please contact us if you would like to visit the shop or meet us there to discuss any aspects of the Drill Hall project. We need volunteers to keep the shop open. If you or anyone you know can dedicate a few hours to sit in the shop then please get in touch!

Get in touch if you would like to help out or to sell things through the shop. We are always looking out for volunteers to help staff the shop.


Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub Sidmouth Diary

Crowdfunder Target Reached!

We are delighted to announce that we have now reached our fundraising target to open a new unit as a drop in and information centre, shop, and point of support for small and start up businesses linked to the Drill Hall CIC at Libra Court in Sidmouth.

A massive thank you to all those that donated!

The fundraiser will remain open until 12th June so please do keep pledging and donating. Thank you.

The shop is now open four days a week, so please come and visit!

Become a Friend of Sidmouth Drill Hall

Thank you to all those that joined us on Tues 2nd June 2015 at The Loft, Old Fore St, Sidmouth for the first meeting of the Friends of Sidmouth Drill Hall. 

You can still download the meeting agenda here Friends of Drill Hall meeting invitation

New Drill Hall Hub Unit at Libra Court

Please Continue to Support Our New Fundraising Campaign

We have launched a fundraising campaign to help meet our costs to open a drop in and information centre in Sidmouth.

Click this link to be redirected now – Support Us

An opportunity has recently arisen for us to take on a unit at Libra Court in Sidmouth for an initial four month period. The unit will be a home for Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub both as a place where we can meet people and discuss our vision for the future of the Drill Hall, and to work as a base for small and start up businesses in Sidmouth. We will sell products from small local businesses that are part of the Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub CIC, plus our new Sidmouth fishermen’s jerseys, the jerseys from our colleagues in Arnemuiden, Holland, Sidmouth Sea Fest t-shirts and more.

We have had a fantastic response to our ‘Friends Of’ campaign with many new people to add to our network. By taking on the unit we will have a drop in centre in Sidmouth where we can move the campaign on to the next stage. We are incredibly excited about this development in our campaign.

But we need your help!

We are working to raise £1,200 by 12th June 2015.

Please take part in our Crowdfunder fundraiser and bid for one of a limited number of pledges.

More details can be found by clicking this link – Support Us

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‘The Territorial Drill Hall, at the Salcombe end of the Esplanade, erected in 1895 on a site given by the late J. George G. Radford, is a neat edifice of red brick, and has on the ground floor a drill hall, 60 by 32 feet, with a clock over the entrance; the building also includes an ante-room, and an armoury.’ (Kelly, 1914)

The land was donated to the town by Mr George G Radford and Mr and Mrs R Hatton-Wood of ‘Belmont’ advanced money for the building work, £1,650. The building was opened on Tuesday 15th October 1895.

In October 1903, Mr and Mrs Hatton-Wood presented the deeds to the Rifle Volunteer Company, which had been formed in 1883, wiping out the remaining construction bill of £600.

Throughout the 1900’s the Drill Hall was used as a cinema, a site for sports including badminton and ice skating, a dance hall, a live music venue, and the on site office of the Sidmouth Folk Festival.

The Drill Hall was closed in 1994 and has been boarded up since.

At a meeting of East Devon District Council’s cabinet in November 2011, council members approved a motion that the building be demolished and a car park built on the vacant site.

The cabinet allocated a budget of £48,038 to demolish the building.

A local campaign group was formed and in March 2013, EDDC removed their application to demolish the building.

Following the withdrawal of the demolition of the building, the campaign group has worked to raise awareness of the heritage of the building and the east end of Sidmouth seafront, and in particular the fishing and coastal history of Sidmouth. In November 2013 the group registered as a Community Interest Company (CIC) in order to work on a range of community projects linked to fishing and the sea, and ultimately towards the redevelopment of the Drill Hall. The two main current areas of activity are the European Union funded TourFish project, and Sidmouth Sea Fest from which Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub CIC carries out a number of community support projects.

This is the website of Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub CIC.

Architect's Drawing of a Renovated Drill Hall Interior (c) Alex Vick

Architect’s Drawing of a Renovated Drill Hall Interior (c) Alex Vick

Architect's vision phase 1 Drill Hall interior to rear of building (c) Alex Vick

Architect’s vision phase 1 Drill Hall interior to rear of building (c) Alex Vick

2 thoughts on “Home

  1. This project is a wonderful vision for Sidmouth with its seafaring history, traditions, and unspoilt architectural heritage. Congratulations to the people behind the ‘A Car Park Would Not Look Very Nice Here’ campaign, and the ideas presented for this lovely old building’s future. It is this kind of energy combined with a love of and respect for our wonderful town that makes Sidmouth so very special.

    Before coming to live in Sidmouth we lived in Ealing, West London, where a simple proposal to rebuild an old outdated cinema became a much larger project to restore Ealing’s heritage and prominence as a centre for film and music. With energy and dedication, Sidmouth can achieve a similar result, celebrating and preserving the past for the enjoyment of current and future residents and visitors.

  2. I have followed with interest all the comments on Streetlife concerning the redevelopment of the drill hall etc., I am a regular holiday maker to Sidmouth and have been for 50 years – my parents in their very late 80’s still come to your town. I would dearly love to be kept up to date with this project and truly hope that the drill hall and other recognisable details in Sidmouth do not get demolished or changed dramatically. The reason people come to Sidmouth is for the serenity, quaintness and ‘old fashioned’ aspect of this beautiful place. Some of the proposals are really not what I as a visitor would like to see happen. I do not comment on Streetlife anymore due to the fact that ‘certain’ people do not like ‘outsiders’ giving view on their town.

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