Sidmouth residents want Italian restaurant

SIDMOUTH residents would like a Primark and Italian restaurant in the town.

SIDMOUTH residents would like a Primark and Italian restaurant in the town.

These were two suggestions put forward at Thursday's annual town assembly, which, in a change to the usual format, Sidmouth Town Council ran in a 'conference' format to make it more inclusive.

Seated around eight tables dedicated to the eight wards, with councillors at each, residents were asked to put forward five ideas from each table, considering what Sidmouth needs most.

Ideas covered everything from pedestrianisation, park and ride and enhancement of the Eastern end of the Esplanade to a Primark in Woolworths' empty store and a good Italian restaurant.

There was a well-attended table of representatives from Sidmouth Youth Council, who received a round of applause for their report.

After a welcome from council chairman Councillor Tom Cox, at Sidmouth Arts Centre, town clerk Trina Jarrett gave a brief presentation about the duties and responsibilities of the three tiers of local government.

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She also told residents what the town council had provided for the Sid Valley during the year.

Mr Cox introduced the 19 councillors, thanking them for their hard work throughout the year.

Councillor Jeffrey Turner, who has special responsibility for overseeing council finance, addressed issues regarding the increase in the town council's precept and identified where the extra expenditure was to be spent.

This includes greater support for Sidmouth Folkweek, future management and control of devolved areas from East Devon District Council, such as Long Park and its play area and Manstone Skateboard Park, and a seafront amenity building offering both toilet and shower facilities.

Neighbourhood beat manager PC Steve Lemon told the meeting police had attended 2,874 incidents, between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, which is 847 less than the previous year.

There were 46 house burglaries during this time, down by eight, 28 non-dwelling burglaries, down eight and 136 offences of theft, down seven.

Only offences of violence had risen by 18 from 80 to 98.

Some 66 crimes of criminal damage were recorded, together with 136 offences relating to theft from or of motor vehicles.

He said crime has fallen dramatically in the Devon unit over the last year "which continues the downward trend of crime over the last six years."

He added: "There has also been a significant drop in incidents of anti-social behaviour, from 312 down to 124.

Reports were also given by Councillor Chris Gibbings, planning, Councillor Simon Pollentine, tourism, Councillor John Dyson, Parish Paths and Hopper bus.

The meeting was "good-spirited" and ended at 9pm.

Mr Cox said next year's annual assembly would be held in Sidbury, but hoped Sidmouth residents would attend.