The sheds and Sidmouth Trawlers are built on land which is part of the Ham: the Ham is covered by rules which say it has to be preserved for the recreation of Sidmouth residents and visitors and that nothing taller than 7 feet high can be built there.
We also have the Alma bridge and Hangar path which is part of the Coastal Path and a useful way for the residents of Salcombe Hill to get into town.
Apart from the physical characteristics, what we have is a population who care deeply about the town they live in. A large part of this population has chosen to come and live here because of what the town offers.
Many of those born here can find it difficult to believe that the incomers have the good of the town at heart, sometimes it can feel as though people move here and then want to take over. To those who feel like that I ask them to consider where the town would be without the Sid Vale Association. This was one of the first of its kind in Britain and was created by outsiders who had come to view Sidmouth as their home. If Sidmouth had not become a fashionable sea resort and it had been left as a fishing and farming area it would be a very different place today.
Every born or adopted Sidmouthian/ Sidmothian has brought skills to the town. Some have come here because of the need for specialist building skills; some for a safe place, with good schools, to raise their children; some to find a place to re-invent themselves after a lifetime of work. Whatever the reason it has resulted in Sidmouth having a higher proportion of graduate, (ex)professional, (ex)business owners, and skilled residents than most towns of its size.
It is no surprise that this has led to many societies and organisations with strong opinions about the way forward for Sidmouth. The Vision Group for Sidmouth is an offshoot of the Sid Vale Association as are many other Societies, but we are also fortunate to have other groups who are not under the Sid Vale umbrella. Perhaps the biggest is the one based on the campaign to save the Drill Hall.
The Drill Hall campaign started in 2013 with the simple aim of stopping the demolition of the Drill Hall. Part of that group developed further into a broad campaign in collaboration with other fishing communities to promote the importance of preserving our coastal heritage. As Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub ( formerly Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub) Community Interest Company they cover a wide range of topics from reintroducing traditional knitting patterns to teaching school children about fish. Despite this diversification some of them are still very much in favour of retaining the Drill Hall as a useful space for the community and an important part of our town’s history and heritage. As well as all their other work they commissioned an Economic Evidence Report to consider how a retained Drill Hall would fit the town’s needs.
Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub CIC is also behind the increasingly popular Sea Fest which is held annually in May.
As far as the towns more formal groups and associations are concerned we are fortunate to have a strong and active Chamber of Commerce to work with the Town Council in promoting economic strength and tourism.
Our Voluntary Groups are a strong part of the town as are our many social groups and Church groups.