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Decision Summary

This building has been assessed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest. The asset currently does not meet the criteria for listing. It is not listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended.

Name: Listing and Designation Online application

Reference Number: 1438101


Drill Hall, Esplanade, Sidmouth, Devon

The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon
District: East Devon
District Type: District Authority
Parish: Sidmouth

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Decision Date: 27-Jul-2016


Reasons for currently not Listing the Building

CONTEXT: an application has been received to consider this former drill hall for listing. It was previously assessed in 2013 in response to the submission of applications for planning and conservation area consents (withdrawn, March 2013) to demolish the building and redevelop the site. The drill hall was turned down for listing. However, extensive historical research has provided new information, including the architect responsible for the building, and has prompted this second listing application. The applicant has indicated that the building remains under threat due to proposals to redevelop the site. There is very strong local support for the retention of the drill hall which is situated in the Sidmouth Conservation Area.

ASSESSMENT: the Principles of Selection for Listing Buildings (DCMS, 2010) sets out the broad criteria used when assessing buildings for listing. Most buildings dating from 1700 to 1840 are listed, though there is some selectivity; and after 1840, because of the greatly increased number of buildings erected and the much larger numbers that have survived, progressively greater selection is necessary. The Historic England Selection Guide for Sports and Recreational Buildings (2012) provides further guidance and is supplemented by the Introduction to Heritage Assets: Drill Halls (2015) which provides an overview of the building type. The relatively high degree of survival, around 1,500 of a total of 1,863 documented English drill halls, means that a high level of selectivity is required in assessing examples for listing. Other considerations include architectural and decorative style and quality, and the degree of alteration and replacement of original fabric.

Based on the information provided and judged against the relevant criteria, the former drill hall, The Esplanade, Sidmouth, which was built in 1895 to the design of local architect James Jerman, is not recommended for listing for the following principal reasons:

* Degree of alteration: the Renaissance-style façade, described in the late C19 as ‘handsome’, has been entirely rebuilt and is now a plain, utilitarian design; the French doors which opened onto an external balcony have been removed and their openings reduced in size; and the balcony itself is no longer extant. Such changes have diminished the building’s architectural integrity and have significantly compromised the integrity of the design; * Plan: despite its unusual plan which includes a basement that originally provided dressing rooms and space for boat storage, the building does not show evidence of innovation in its construction or planning; * Date and rarity: the first drill halls date from 1859 so this is not a particularly early example; around 150 drill halls purpose-built before 1900 survive and some selectivity is required; * National context: since this drill hall was first assessed for listing in 2013, a strategic project by Historic England has provided a national overview of drill halls. This identified a number of examples for statutory designation, but the Sidmouth drill hall was not among them. CONCLUSION: while this assessment should not be taken to undermine the building’s strong local interest as the work of a local Exeter architect and as a reminder of the area’s military past, it does not merit listing in a national context. It is, however, an asset to the conservation area.

National Grid Reference: SY1285287305

This copy shows the entry on 20-Feb-2024 at 10:08:57.