Sidmouth park could be closed for private functions, papers reveal

Sidmouth in summer. Connaught Gardens in its full floral glory. Ref shs 7006-33-15AW. Picture: Alex

Sidmouth in summer. Connaught Gardens in its full floral glory. Ref shs 7006-33-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

‘Key sites’ like Connaught Gardens could be closed and rented out for private functions like weddings, sports tournaments and big-screen events, under new proposals.

Agenda papers reveal East Devon District Council (EDDC) is considering recruiting an events officer to actively market its open spaces and improve the range of attractions for residents and visitors.

Proposes include a £100,000 allocation from the authority’s capital reserve and say charges would be in line with the private sector.

The agenda for the overview and scrutiny committees’ joint meeting on January 17 single out Connaught Gardens as a key site.

It says sites could be used for weddings and structures could be registered for ceremonies; a big screen could be bought to show sports and music events; and events ranging from Christmas markets and food fairs to beach volleyball or surf lifesaving championships could be staged.

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An EDDC spokeswoman said: “Part of the council’s objective to develop an outstanding economy through being more commercial, we have been making steady progress in improving our events offer and rentals of our assets such as parks and gardens.

“Last year, we increased events income from £10,000 to £35,000.

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“In addition to ticketed theatre performances at Connaught Gardens, this has already included a wedding in Manor Gardens Exmouth, the Exmouth Observation Wheel and other ticketed events such as open air cinema where the park or area was closed to the public.

“We consult with the local town or parish council and elected members before such events go ahead.

“Any EDDC parks, gardens, beaches or open spaces will be considered by the council for events bookings or private functions.

“Charges will be in line with the private sector and anyone interested in making a booking, should contact the council on 01395 517528 or visit”

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