'We'll have to put up with roadworks for a few weeks'


Are parking charges the right way to raise money? - Credit: Archant

I write this newspaper column five days before it is published, so there is every chance that anything I say will soon be old news!

The past week has seen the national news dominated by the Downing Street parties, the Royals and the falling numbers of Covid cases, but who knows what might have happened over the past five days after I’ve written this! Fortunately I only write about mainly local events, so what is there to discuss this week?

Firstly, the start of the roadworks at Radway last week certainly appeared to catch people out and apparently there was a debate as to whether the road should have been closed during the daytime or just during the evening.

It certainly put a strain on the local infrastructure, with long queues reported in both Station Road and Fortescue Road. We will just have to get used to this over the next few weeks.

The financing of local government has also been taking up a number of column inches. It appears that we may have to pay to use public toilets and it also seems likely that car parking charges are going to increase in many car parks in East Devon.

One thing is for sure and that is revenues have to be raised by the local government, but I’m yet to be convinced that these two particular avenues are the best ones to exploit.

It appears that the planned jazz festival is going to take place in Sidmouth next June, although it looks like it will be a scaled down affair compared to the initial plans.

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The main venue looks like being the parish church. Whatever happens I wish the organisers the best of luck as we all know how difficult it is to plan any event in the current circumstances.

The volume of enquiries I am getting for camper van parking on the cricket ground for the folk festival has certainly picked up over the past couple of weeks. This is probably due to the far more optimistic Covid figures we have seen recently.

If you know somebody who wants to come to the event who hasn’t yet booked I suggest you contact them swiftly so they are not disappointed.

I must pay credit to the East Devon District Council employees who look after the bowling green in Sidmouth. The battle against leather jackets appears to be going the right way and the turf certainly looked in tip top condition when I walked past the other day.

Hopefully the greenkeepers at Sidmouth Golf Club are also winning the battle against the pesky little creatures.

On the sporting front, Sidmouth rugby club had a fine away victory at North Petherton last Friday evening and on Saturday evening we saw Exeter Chiefs overwhelm Glasgow, scoring eight tries in the process. There was a decent crowd in excess of 11,000 with many from Sidmouth attending.

In preparation for a charity walk on February 15, we walked the coast path to Branscombe last week. I had forgotten just how steep some of those hills are!

The walk back to Sidmouth via Weston and Trow was not only flatter but a lot quicker. In total just over 11 miles and recommended especially if you take in a pub lunch in Branscombe! Anyone wishing to join us on February 15 walking from Sidmouth to Seaton please let me know. We will be leaving Sidmouth at around 10am and getting the bus back.

Finally, are you aware of the proposed changes to the Highway Code due to come in on January 29? Nor was I until I saw it on social media last week.

The changes mainly relate to pedestrians and cyclists so car drivers will have to be a lot more careful especially around junctions. I’m sure there will be plenty in the media about this over the next few weeks.