Ex-jailbirds to help restore Sidmouth landmark?

The murals at Sidmouth swimming pool car park. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 5931-09-14AW

The murals at Sidmouth swimming pool car park. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 5931-09-14AW - Credit: Archant

REFORMED criminals could be enlisted to help Sidmouth land a national title by revamping a familiar feature near the seafront.

The murals at Sidmouth swimming pool car park. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 5930-09-14AW

The murals at Sidmouth swimming pool car park. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 5930-09-14AW - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth in Bloom wants to overhaul an algae-covered wall and replace ‘past their sell-by date’ murals next to the Ham – and hopes ex-cons on probation can carry out the work.

The voluntary group has asked the town council for permission to proceed with the project and to pay for supervision and materials.

A gold award in last year’s South West in Bloom has seen Sidmouth nominated to represent the region in the 2014 Britain in Bloom contest.

Sidmouth in Bloom’s Peter Endersby says in a letter to civic leaders that ‘pride of place’ is a big factor in judging and that officials have previously commented on the state of the display near the swimming pool. He adds that Sidmouth College decorated the wall and painted and put up the murals ‘many years ago’.

“We would like to see this wall redecorated and new murals put up depicting the life of the town. We would not expect the college to decorate the wall – we are investigating using the probation ‘pay back’ service for this,” said Mr Endersby.

He adds that the college will be asked to prepare some new murals and the facelift could happen as soon as May.

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Town councillors want more information before they decide.

“I’ve had residents say to me ‘that wall is looking really horrible’,” said Councillor Frances Newth at a meeting last Monday.

“It is right in the town centre near the main car park and it is a dirty wall,” said Cllr Ian Barlow.

“There’s plenty of community spirit – how many painters and decorators have we got in Sidmouth?,” added Cllr Stuart Hughes.

Others warned of the potential cost and it was agreed more information would be asked for.

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