Reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to 2018
PUBLISHED: 12:30 03 January 2018
Councillor Ian McKenzie-Edwards, Sidmouth Town Council
“I was proud to be elected chairman of the town council in May of last year.
“It has been my great pleasure to attend a number of events since then that reflect life in the valley. Notable among these have been another successful FolkWeek and the wonderful return visit of the Red Arrows.
“The town council was pleased to enable the provision of lights for the town’s football club. It also enabled and funded lights at Blackmore field and Sidford recreation ground to provide night landing for Devon Air Ambulance.
“It was particularly satisfying to be involved in the town’s entry in the Britain in Bloom contest. We won a gold and category winner for coastal towns in the whole of the UK.
“The town is entered in the Champion of Champions class next year against all comers. Sidmouth in Bloom’s Lynette Talbot, Peter Endersby and their team deserve our fullest support in this endeavour.
“I have represented the council on the Neighbourhood Plan steering group since its inception. By the end of the year this should be completed. This becomes a real planning document, based on local consultation, to mould the future of the valley.
“We live in a fine place. I will have done so for 60 years in 2018.
“The challenge for us all must be to secure Sidmouth’s future in this respect and enhance the visitor experience. Let us all do our part to make this happen in 2018.”
Youth work coordinator Ben Feasey, Sidmouth Youth Centre
“We have had a great year at Sidmouth Youth Centre.
“Young Devon, with the support of the town council, have devised a solid strategy for the continued improvement of youth provision in the area.
“We have the new MUGA [multi-use games area] and lights, which have not only changed our open access delivery by allowing us to run outside activities during the darker evenings, but is also continuing to be used by the community at large.
“In 2018, we are looking at new and creative ways to bring the outside of the centre up and in keeping with the fantastic graffiti art piece that was designed and painted by local artist Sam Giles in 2017.
“We aim to continue to work on bringing more projects and services to Sidmouth Youth Centre and make it the community hub we want it to be.
“We are always looking at ways to improve our services and we are always looking for enthusiastic and committed volunteers to help run our sessions.
“I would also ask that people like our Facebook page, Sidmouth Youth Centre -Young Devon, for news on what is happening.”
Deirdre Hounsom, Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan steering group chairman
“January was extremely busy planning and staging a consultation event at Kennaway House, with workshops for each of our themes.
“In tandem with this, the group was putting the finishing touches to the business and special interest groups survey, and the children and young people’s survey.
“All the consultations can be viewed at www.sidvalleyneighbourhoodplan.com.
“The most ambitious piece of work of the year was putting together the final residents’ survey, which was delivered to all households in the Sid Valley.
“Then came the most difficult part of the whole project – using the wealth of information that we had amassed and writing the policies that will form the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan.
“At the time of writing we are in the final stages of this task and aim to publish the draft plan early in 2018. “This will be available to the public and all interested parties to comment on for a six-week period.
“It’s been a lot of hard work for the volunteers on the steering group who have all given up hundreds of hours to work on the project and immersed themselves in the huge volume of emails, telephone calls, meetings, information gathering and dedication that goes into the writing of a Neighbourhod Plan.
“My hope for 2018 and the future is that when the plan is ‘made’, it will be an evolving document that will act as a blueprint for on-going sensitive development and the economic vitality of the valley for the next 15 years.”
Alan Darrant, Sid Vale Association chairman
“2017 witnessed a major landmark in the history of the Sid Vale Association with the completed refurbishment of our newly acquired premises above Coffee #1 in Fore Street, the former Trumps. The oldest civic society in the country now has, for the first time, its own premises.
For some years we had realised that the museum was literally overloaded: the weight of the vast collection of publications on upper floors had become excessive. These are now housed on the second floor at Trumps. This accommodation for storage and research will be the envy of many similar organisations.
“The museum volunteers had to face the enormous task of sifting through its extensive collection to prepare for the removal, at the same time as preparing to open the museum for the 2017 season – always a race against time in itself. The reward, however, is the extra space the museum now enjoys at Hope Cottage.
“In early January we celebrate the formal opening of our new premises, with direct descendants of the Trumps family as guests. This will mark a new chapter in the history of the association.
“We invite any non-members to join the SVA. Visit www.sidvaleassociation.org.uk.”
David Wheaton, Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce chairman
“We have had a number of positive and successful events during the year.
“These include the following:
“On July 26 we had a barbecue in the garden of Richard and Jayne Eley.
“During the Red Arrows display on August 25, the chamber supplied 30 collectors and were thereby instrumental in helping to raise funds to enable the Red Arrows to come next year.
“On August 27 we had our successful outdoor black tie evening in Market Place.
“And on December 1, we had another good late-night shopping event.
“Looking forward to 2018, firstly, we have the Sid Valley Business Awards Ceremony on January 6 at the Victoria Hotel, which we are greatly looking forward to.
“The other big event planned for 2018 is the classic car event on September 15.”