Vandals smash Sidmouth ampitheatre, sparking anger in town

Mindless vandals have smashed part of the new Sidmouth ampitheatre, sparking anger in the town.

Parts of the stone steps have been smashed, prompting the call for witnesses to come forward to identify the culprits.

The ampitheatre in the grounds of Knowle, Sidmouth, which has been open for less than a year, is part of a £1million flood alleviation scheme designed to protect the town in the event of a serious flood.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council (DCC) cabinet member for public health, communities and equality, said: “This is mindless vandalism of something that is a unique and vital asset for the town.

“The ampitheatre is part of a scheme primarily designed to protect the town, which makes this even more galling.

“I would urge anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the grounds of the ampitheatre to report it to the police.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Councillor for Sidmouth, said: “It’s absolutely heartbreaking that anyone could do this.

“This structure was built for the community of Sidmouth, and while the flood alleviation scheme protects homes and businesses from flooding, the ampitheatre also provides a public space for the local community.

“If anyone has any information on who might have caused this damage, I would appeal for them to contact the police.”

The vandalism has been reported to the police and Devon County Council (DCC) is appealing for anyone with information to come forward to help with enquiries.

The ampitheatre is part of a £1 million flood alleviation scheme. Beneath it runs an underground water storage system which has the capacity to contain floodwater up to a one-in-30-year storm event.

The tiered sections above ground, which have been targeted by vandals, are also designed to store water during a one in 100-year storm event.

Estimates are yet to be carried out on how much it may cost to replace the steps or if they can be repaired.

The structure was officially opened last October by DCC chair, Councillor Jeff Trail.

The scheme was constructed by South West Highways and was developed through the DCC’s Surface Water Management Plan for Sidmouth after properties in the town were flooded in November 2014.

It was funded by Devon County Council, DEFRA Flood Defence Grant in Aid and a Local Levy contribution administered by the South West Flood and Coastal Committee.

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