Milestone for vision group

Founding members of the Vision Group for Sidmouth

Founding members of the Vision Group for Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

A Sid Valley group - that is used to looking to the future - will be reflecting on its past when it marks its 10th birthday next week.

The Vision Group for Sidmouth (VGS) has been behind initiatives such as the Café Scientifique discussion group, the farmers’ market and SidEnergy, the community energy co-operative, as well as now-annual events such as Climate Week and Sidmouth Science Festival.

The group’s Futures Forum has also contributed to planning matters, infrastructure, education and employment, plus specific issues such as the regeneration of Port Royal and the Drill Hall.

Its chairman, Dave Bramley, said: “The VGS should celebrate the wide range of activities it has delivered and been involved with over the past 10 years.

“I would like to thank all those who have contributed.

“To the future, I do hope the town council chooses to develop a neighbourhood plan, which would require a major programme of engagement for Sidmothians, and create an even stronger community.”

The group was first touted at the town council’s annual assembly in 2005 by the Reverend Handel Bennett, then the chairman of the Sid Vale Association.

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He was concerned that Sidmouth would be unable to cope with an expected influx of visitors following the designation of the Jurassic Coast as a World Heritage Site.

In 2005, the vision group was formed of some 20 residents and was led by the town council chairman at the time, Ann Liverton. It had with three aims:

? To mobilise the community to express its concerns and aspirations for the future of Sidmouth;

? To create a concrete plan to be presented to and recognised by the district council;

? To provide a focus for local people and organisations to take up particular issues and pursue them to implementation.

In 2008, the VGS had Sidmouth recognised as a Transition Town, and its aims evolved towards enabling informed debate, incubating and developing exemplary projects and encouraging Sidmouth to ‘make the transition towards local resilience as a future-focussed community’.

Now, one of its biggest concerns for the next 10 years is the ‘more pronounced and pressing’ threat of climate change.

Everyone is welcome to join with the VGS for its birthday celebration in the Anchor Inn from 7pm on Wednesday (June 17).

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