As Sidmouth gears itself up for the King’s Coronation in two weeks and the Jazz Festival at the end of May it is pleasing to see works on the town’s infrastructure now taking place. The loose manhole cover outside the post office has finally been repaired after months of sounding like gunshot after anyone drove over it. We are told that the pothole repair teams are about to accelerate their work using the monies detailed in the last budget. About blinking time I hear you say!

On the commercial front we have seen April openings aplenty which include The Eatery in Cross Lane, Edinburgh Woollen Mill in the High Street and Ferne Animal Sanctuary in New Street. Flutterbys has moved to East Street and the Kapes kiosk is now open on the seafront. The Marine reopened at the end of March and have had a live music event which is good news for local music fans.

The residential property market appears quite active with a decent number of properties getting buyers recently. None of the 2023 completed sales have appeared on the Land Registry yet. Amongst properties recently coming to the market is St Kentigern in Alma Lane. A guide price of £1.4m is being quoted. And Peakaboo on Peak Hill Road has come to the market at a guide of £1.85m. Sunglow in Seafield Road has come on with a guide of £1.5m. This property was the former home of renowned local architect R W Sampson.

The news stories, since my last column, included the fire at The Knowle which was very sad to see. Many people will have memories of working there, of partying there or attending East Devon District Council meetings there. The other news story that was very sad to see was the announcement that Lloyds Bank will be closing their branch in the town in early September. For a town like Sidmouth, with its age demographic, to have no bank is, let’s say, unfortunate. Our local MP Simon Jupp is drumming up support for a banking hub in the town. I wish him well with his campaign.

On the sporting front Sidmouth Cricket Club started their bicentenary season last weekend with a Saturday fixture against Exeter University 3rd XI which was curtailed by the weather. The Sunday fixture against Sidbury was called off due to the weather on Saturday night.

On the rugby front Sidmouth finished in a mid table league position and were knocked out of the Devon Cup plate semi-final by Ivybridge. Last Friday there was an entertaining veterans game at the club followed by a comedy night which was enjoyed by numerous people. The players can now put their feet up before pre season training commences in a few weeks time.

In football Exeter City have had a run of recent narrow defeats against teams battling for promotion. These teams have included Bolton Wanderers, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday. There are just two fixtures left now with a trip to Ipswich this Saturday and a final home game against Morecambe on the following Sunday. When I was ten years old Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday and Derby were all in the First Division and they remain clubs with massive fan bases.

By the time you read this article BBC local news should be available on your Freeview TV in HD. No more tuning to Channel 1 to see the local news. Sky customers have had this service for a few weeks.

Finally you may have seen the tree felling taking place on Peak Hill Road. It has certainly made the view over Sidmouth even more spectacular. This is a commercial timber harvesting and ground preparation operation by Tilhill, who manage the forestry. Hopefully the track that runs beneath Mutters Moor towards the golf course will soon be reopen.