It will be good to see Sidmouth town centre 'bustling again'

Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce says high street businesses could take years to recover from the lockdo

Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce says high street businesses could take years to recover from the lockdown. Ref shs 9252-25-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

The press was full of advice for the Prime Minister last weekend as to how we were going to come out of lockdown. An announcement is due on Monday, February 22 to lay out a proposed timetable with regards to reopening our institutions and economy. 

The start appears to be with schools with a planned reopening in England from March 8. Non-essential retail and hospitality will follow after that. The vaccination numbers are on target which is fantastic news and the 15 million most vulnerable were vaccinated by February 15! We all wait with baited breath on the plans for the future. What is for sure is that Devon has done really well during this lockdown. Local authority figures, including East Devon, have been amongst the lowest in the United Kingdom.

It was good to see the story in the Sidmouth Herald last week about the Tipton St John litter pickers. Well done to them. While it is sad that there is a need for such an operation I can see that they have a real task on their hands especially by the roads. I see little by footpaths and can only assume it is drivers and not pedestrians who are doing this. Please take a rubbish bag out with you.

The walk I am recommending this week is the one that takes you from Sidmouth to the Bowd and then along the old railway line in Harpford Woods and through to Tipton St John. Walk into the village centre and then take the path by the River Otter back to Harpford. Continue along Lower Way and across the main road to Northmostown. Then take the bridle way up the hill to Mutters Moor and back into Sidmouth. About nine miles in total. I was very envious of the gentleman I met by the river who was telling me about the two otters he had seen earlier in the day. And it is not just on the River Otter that you can see otters. Local people have videoed two otters playing in the River Sid near the ford. Residents in Barrington Mead had a fantastic nature show right in front of their homes. Also photographed last week was a Marsh Tit in The Byes. And thank you to everyone who is telling me about seeing a black redstart. They are far more common in Sidmouth than I thought!

An interesting article in the Herald last week focused on the diversity of our High Street. It will be good to see it bustling again. Another empty unit is about to be filled with a coffee shop going into the premises formerly occupied by Fulfords. There is a lot of scaffolding going up around the town as business owners improve their premises in readiness for busier times which are hopefully not far around the corner.

The main route into town continues to be a major topic of discussion. Not just about the potholes but also with the closure of Temple Street for a couple of days last week. Apparently a rattling manhole cover was the cause of the disruption. I couldn’t believe how many cars were turning around in Temple Street despite the road closed signs! Vicarage Road has had large unrepaired potholes for weeks. Hopefully damaged tyres have been kept to a minimum.

Onto cricket in India. At the time of writing England are up against it in the second test and without Dom Bess! Apparently the selectors thought he was tired and needed a rest. I suspect Dom did not share their opinion!
Finally, a year ago today we returned from a winter break in Tenerife. Such trips seem a distant memory but 2021 looks like it is going to be the year we holiday in the UK. Inevitably Sidmouth will be busy because we are lucky to live in such a fantastic area. The last year has confirmed that!

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter