Sidmouth residents to pay town council an extra 22p a week to fund new toilets, skate park and youth centre upgrade

Residents will pay Sidmouth Town Council an extra 22pence a week so it can splash cash on a youth centre upgrade, replacement skate park and new seafront toilets.  

Some £50,000 to boost tourism, grants for community groups totalling £16,000, and £33,000 for Sidmouth Folk Festival were also in a budget agreed this week.

The authority’s precept – its slice of householders’ council tax bills – for the next financial year has been set at £591,920.

It means the average Band D property will pay the council £84 in 2020/21 for its services – an £11.68 increase on the previous 12 months.

Civic leaders say this will pay for improvements to tourism and marketing, more public toilets on The Esplanade, a new skate park and a commitment to updating and ultimately replacing the Manstone Youth Centre building.

Some £40,000 has been set aside for youth service support, while £13,500 has been earmarked for Christmas lighting and events.

Verge cutting, maintenance and weeding will cost taxpayers £9,500 – with flower beds, planters and watering expected to total £18,000.

A Sidmouth Town Council spokesman said it, like many other authorities like it across the country, now has ‘more responsibilities than ever before’.

He added: “The additional public conveniences on the seafront will be open by the summer, meaning that four will be available to beach users and walkers along The Esplanade.

“The council will continue to ensure flower beds are colourful and attractive and verges kept clean and maintained.

“Water fountains will also continue to be provided along the Esplanade.

“To support the environmental agenda, electric charging points will be installed at key locations in the future and advice will be made available to residents to help them reduce their personal carbon footprint.”

A breakdown of Sidmouth Town Council's 2020/21 precept.

A breakdown of Sidmouth Town Council's 2020/21 precept.

Above – A breakdown of Sidmouth Town Council’s 2020/21 precept.

Provision has also been made for managing and maintaining Sidmouth’s unique Fire Beacon Hill Nature Reserve.

The council has also awarded more than £16,000 to 20 organisations across the Sid Valley – benefitting residents young and old.

Cultural, sporting and environmental activities – such as the science, literary, walking and folk festivals, Sea Fest and the carnival – have all been boosted.

Some £10,000 has been set aside for Sidmouth Air Display, while the Hopper Bus service will receive £13,000.

Sidmouth in Bloom and the town band continue to receive support.

Chris Lockyear, deputy member with special responsibility for finance, said: “’This budget represents significant investment in youth services, tourism and the practical things that help those who live in the Sid Valley.

“I am also pleased that we have been able to help so many organisations that support the cultural, sporting and environmental activities in the valley.

“The fact that the grants were oversubscribed shows we have a vibrant community of which we should all be proud.”

Councillor Louise Cole, chair of the Tourism and Economy Committee, said: “As a coastal town our tourism industry is vital to our economy.

“It is through improving our tourism promotion that we can help new businesses to set up and established ones to grow.

“It is how we can attract new visitors and ensure that residents can enjoy a vibrant place to live.

“With the improvements we are making we are responsibly promoting the town and the surrounding areas to attract visitors and respond to market changes and the use of digital technologies.

“Our new Visit Sidmouth brand has just been successfully introduced, we can now implement it effectively through a new and improved Town Guide and new campaigns using digital approaches whilst finding out more about our visitor base.”

The precept was agreed on Monday, January 20.

Residents’ overall council tax bills are made up of contributions to the town, district and county councils as well as the fire service and police.

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