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Battered Sidmouth is ‘open for business’

PUBLISHED: 16:04 06 March 2014 | UPDATED: 16:04 06 March 2014

Ian Thomas and Sheila Kerridge

Ian Thomas and Sheila Kerridge

Archant

Sidmouth is open for business despite the resort being battered by recent storms that have hit national headlines.

That was the message from members of East Devon District Council (EDDC) last night (Wednesday), meeting at Knowle.

EDDC’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Ian Thomas, spoke passionately about the need to remind potential visitors in the UK and further afield that the area is ready now to welcome visitors and our tourism businesses are looking forward to a busy Easter.

The first major holiday weekend of the year falls later than normal this year – on April 18 – and this will give business and local councils plenty of time to clear up the last vestiges of the mess left behind by the stormy seas and gale force winds.

Ian Thomas said: “TV pictures of waves battering our coast, and railway lines damaged make good Press, but people might get the impression that there’s no point coming to East Devon – maybe the journey will be impossible, or just too much effort.

“Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Local businesses from Exmouth in the West to Uplyme in the East, Budleigh, Sidmouth, Seaton and our inland towns, are open and ready to serve.

He said volunteers and East Devon staff are hard at work repairing damaged seafronts.

“East Devon is a year-round tourist haven, with plenty to do in all weathers and loads of visitor attractions. We have some ‘crackin’ eateries and award winning accommodation for all choices and budgets - caravan parks, farm cottages, bed and breakfasts and first-class hotels.”

Sidmouth Councillor and EDDC’s Tourism Champion Sheila Kerridge, said: “People see pictures of storm damage on their TV screens and assume ithere’s no point coming to Devon.

“What they need to know is that we are a resourceful and resilient lot down here.

“Seaside businesses took a hit during February with a drop in bookings and in a lot of cases actual damage to accommodation, which limited their capacity. But the recovery is now mostly complete and businesses are looking ahead with optimism.

Bookings are already picking up again for Easter and into the summer but there are still vacancies for the next few weeks.”

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