This page has been included to enable the Sidbury Ward Town Councillor to be in touch with those who they represent and to ensure that Sidbury residents are aware of happenings that may affect Sidbury, and what may be of interest that is happening in the Valley.

The Town Councillor for the Sidbury Ward is:
Cllr. John Loudoun

Councillor Loudoun

Tel: 01395 597166

Sidmouth Town Assembly - in the village hall
March 22nd 2023

Sidmouth Town Council meets month at its Sidmouth office in Woolcombe House, located just behind the police station.

The Town Council’s next meeting is on Monday 3 April commencing at 6.30 pm. This time the meeting is being held here in the village in the village hall!

In addition to the Council meeting there will also be the Town Assembly which is held annually and its venue is moved around the town. And this year its being held in the village immediately prior to the Council meeting.

Please come along and hear what your town council has been doing for residents and businesses over the past year.

The poster for the Town Assembly has been put up across the village on the various noticeboards and is attached to this post.

John Loudoun

Supporting the repair of the Millennium Green pond
March 8th 2023

At the Town Council meeting on 6 March, it considered a request from the village Millennium Green Trustees – Roger Davey, Sir George Cave and Chris Woodruff – for some financial assistance towards repairing a leak in the pond’s lining. The anticipated cost of properly repairing the pond is in the order of £8,000 and understandably the Trustees don’t have all of that to hand. The Town Council were happy to provide half of the cost of the repairs, £4,000 and were able to do so as the funds will come from a generous bequest left to it by John Rayson who died last year and was a long serving Town Councillor.

In case you had forgotten the village Millennium Green was created in 2000 as a village green for the local community and the site was was donated by the Cave Estate. It was a former agricultural field in the heart of the village which was transformed to a natural green space with woodland/shrub planting and the creation of a pond and informal seating. Over the years, interpretation, a dipping platform and a memorial seat for the late Sir John Cave have all been added.

The site is extremely well used by the local community, village school, local groups and dog walkers, as well as for village events like Sidbury Fair and the late Queen's Jubilee. Local school children helped to create the interpretation board on site and often visit and use the dipping platform.

There is no income for the site and the Trustees work to raise funds and oversee the general upkeep of the site. In recent years, the pond has developed a leak. The Trustees have undertaken minor repairs to ‘plug’ the gap, but with only temporary effect. Over the last year this leak has developed significantly and is now at a scale that requires more major intervention beyond the manual capabilities of the Trustees. Despite being fed via a leet from the river Sid, the pond levels are now getting very low and there is concern that with the increased vegetation resulting from lower water levels, the pond is at risk of losing its open water features and diversity as a water feature.

The Trustees have sought advice from an experienced landscape consultant who is able to act quickly to assist them in undertaking the repairs to clear the necessary vegetation, make good and seal the pond. They have been able to obtain a competitive price for immediate work, which will increase if the Trustees miss this timing or delay to later in the year.

The Trustees have very limited funds and rely heavily on fund-raising to tackle anything other than minor repairs and so they have applied to external bodies, such as the Town Council, to assist them in securing the long-term viability of this popular feature of the community.

The Trustees hope to be able to undertake the remedial works this month. I’m sure that the Trustees would only be too grateful if anyone wishes to make a contribution, of whatever value, to the Millennium Green’s ongoing upkeep. As I have indicated at the beginning of this piece, the Trustees are Roger Davey, Sir George Cave and Chris Woodruff. All are well known local souls.

John Loudoun

Free trees - contact Sidmouth Arboretum
December 8th 2022

Sidmouth Arboretum, with the support of the Town Council, is keen to plant a tree for every resident in the Sid Valley, but to do so it needs landowners to provide the space on their land for this.

In return, at no cost to the landowner the Arboretum will plant trees and hedges. It will also provide stakes and guards to protect the planting against deer and adverse weather. It will also provide the labour to plant the trees and hedges!

The planting has already started but it will continue over the next couple of years.

If you have land and you can offer space on it for the Arboretum to plant these trees and hedges then contact its President Diana East by email at

John Loudoun

Voluntary organisation grants available
November 7th 2022

Each year Sidmouth Town Council provides a number of local voluntary organisations with grants. In order to be considered, organisations need to apply to the Town Council by no later than 9 December by completing and submitting a completed application form.

Application forms can be obtained from the Town Council  at its offices or via its website

John Loudoun

Roadworks coming at Burnt Oak
October 12th 2022

Wales & West Utilities, which is now part of National Grid have announced that they are upgrading the gas pipe network at Burnt Oak and this work will commence on 17 October. The work is expected to last until around 24 November.

I have been advised that between 17 October and 24 November 2-way and 3-way lights will be in place on the A375 in Chapel Street and that between 7 November and 11 November, a road closure may be in place on the A375 at Chapel Street, depending on engineering works required. If this happens diversion routes will be signposted, and extra time for travel should be allowed.

As local businesses will be open as usual WWU will accommodate trade deliveries where possible.

John Loudoun

Evening bus service being cut from 31 July
July 15th 2022

Stagecoach, our local bus provider, has just announced many cuts to its services as from 31 July. As a local Town and District Councillor I had no advanced warning that any of these changes to Stagecoach’s services were likely or even intended. These were drawn to my attention a couple of days ago.

Stagecoach is making many cuts and alterations to their routes across their services and is doing so apparently for several reasons – government funding is ceasing, Devon County Council route subsidies are reducing or ceasing, reduced passenger numbers, increased fuel costs and difficulties in recruiting and retaining drivers. I understand that locally Stagecoach has a driver shortage in excess of 25%.

Our local bus service, the number 9 route, is partly subsidised by Devon County Council and has been for many years. As part of the County Council’s financial difficulties (it is anticipating being around £40m short this year) it’s reducing or ceasing some of its route subsidies, including to our route.

Obviously, the main concern for Sidbury residents will be the cuts to the local number 9 bus service that Stagecoach are implementing with such short notice. I understand that whilst Stagecoach wanted to reduce the daytime hourly service to an hour and a half one, the County Council is providing a subsidy to maintain an hourly service from 6.15 am until 7.20 pm.

The main problem arises at 7.20 pm which will be the last bus into the village, with the last one out towards Sidmouth immediately following.

This means that by 7.20 pm the village will not be served by a bus. This will effectively cut this village off from Sidmouth and Exeter from early evening. This will not only affect those who have to use public transport to get to and from work, but also those who use it to access social activities, not least our youngsters.

It will also detrimentally affect the village pub and local B&Bs.

It will also potentially lead to more residents resorting to walking along the dangerous part of the A375 between Sidford and Sidbury with the potential for those doing so being involved in an accident.

These cuts to the service are not short-term measures but appear to be here to stay.

I have raised with our County Councillor, Stuart Hughes, my concerns at the significant impact that the cuts to the timetable will have on this village and its residents. Residents might also want to express their thoughts on these cuts to him

John Loudoun

All My Friends Hate Me!
June 1st 2022

In November 2019 a film called All My Friends Hate Me was shot primarily at Sidbury Manor. 

It has been out for several months now in America and now it's coming to a cinema near us, having had good reviews! 

On Thursday 16th June at 7.30 pm there will be a screening, with Q&A, at The Radway in Sidmouth with it having been given general cinema release from 10th June

It’s not often that this village stars in a film or one that has a local showing.

If you, like me, are intrigued to see what this film is like, then grab yourself a ticket from the Radway

John Loudoun

War Memorial - Update
May 27th 2022

Unfortuantely the front of the War Meorial appears to have been struck by a vehicle. Therefore what was assumed to be a straightforward job of replacing a number of slabs at its front is slightly more demanding. The brickwork ant the front needs attention before the slabs can be relaid. 

As this work is going to require the use of temporary traffic lights to protect those repairing the front base of the Memorial, permission is now required from the County Council to have these, even for a short period of time.

It may therefore be a few weeks before work can be undertaken.

John Loudoun

War Memorial
May 20th 2022

Some of the edging around the War Memorial has become loose and one section has fully broken away. I have asked the Sidmouth Town Council Clerk if we can get the edging re-cemented in and the broken piece replaced. I hope that this won't take too long to do!

John Loudoun

Further gas pipe replacement - Furzehill/Greenhead
March 30th 2022

I have been contacted by Wales & West Utilities as they are due to soon commence work in Furzehill and Greenhead/Higher Greenhead on further work to upgrade gas pipes in Sidbury. The £45,000 work, in Furzehill and Greenhead/Higher Greenhead, will begin on 11 April.

Barring any engineering difficulties, it is due to finish by the end of May. Wales & West Utilities has worked with Devon County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that Higher Greenhead will be closed between 25 April – 13 May, with a diversion route clearly signposted.

Work will also take place on Furzehill and the company’s Customer Service Team will be contacting those directly affected by the work to understand their individual needs. I understand that the Furzehill work will commence on 11 April and should conclude before the Greenhead/Higher Greenhead works commence

The Wales & West Utilities Customer Service Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 912 2999. Alternatively, you can contact them on Twitter @WWUtilities or

John Loudoun

Advance notice - Fore Street & Chapel Street night closure
February 16th 2022

I have received notification that Fore Street and Chapel Street will be closed through the night from 7.30 pm until 6.00 am on Wednesday 23 February through to Friday 25 February.

This closure is to allow safe access to the "underground network for cabling". My interpretation of this is that as the work appears to be to the cabling that is underground then there should be no requirement for the road to be dug up etc. Therefore whilst the works are bound to cause some noise, it won't be as intrusive as other works can be.

The contact details for the company which has received permission from the County Council Highways department to close the road is - Sunbelt Rentals Uk, and the contact telephone number is 03700 500792. If residents have any concerns about this I am happy to be contacted to try and assist, although the relevant Councillor is our County Councillor Stuart Hughes.

John Loudoun

Gas Pipe Replacement: Cotford & Buckley Roads/Roncombe Lane
February 16th 2022

Once it became known at the end of last week that Wales & West Utilities (WWU) were to undertake gas pipe replacement in the end part of Buckley Road close to the junction with Cotford Road (A375), from there up Cotford Road to Roncombe Lane, and then up by the first five properties in the first part of Roncombe Lane, I immediately contacted them to fully understand the implications for residents near to where the works would take place and for the rest of the village.

I have now had a number of positive discussions with WWU who have worked with me to find ways to reduce the length of time the various roads will need to be closed. I am pleased that WWU will soon be publicising more detail about what work they will be undertaking and the revised timetable, although work has already started in Buckley Road.

WWU are likely to confirm that they will be able to significantly reduce the length of time that they will have to close Cotford Road, between the junction with Buckley Road and the junction with Roncombe Lane.

WWU has also committed to leafleting properties across the village to update residents on their revised road closure timetable. WWU will also send out their revised information to the Sidmouth Herald and local social media outlets.

I hope to be able to provide more detail about all of this after the weekend. I must commend WWU for working with me to find ways to reduce the impact of their works on local residents and all those who use the A375 through the village. It’s a shame however that when the County Council Highways department gave blanket permission for what originally was a four-week total closure of the A375 at Cotford, it never though about what the impact would be for residents and road users.

John Loudoun

Greenhead - road works
February 15th 2022

I went and had a look at the works that South West Water are doing at the bottom of Greenhead. It looks to me that the road is not fully closed although it would require careful driving to get around the works there. A reminder that should your vehicle be damaged by driving into the works then I guess that South West Water would not accept liability!

Access to and from Furzehill was still open.

John Loudoun

Local replacement gas pipes - works start 14 February
February 11th 2022

I have just found out that Wales & West Utilities will, as from Monday 14 February, be replacing gas pipes in the local area. The first part of the works starting on Monday is in Buckley Road, then moving out onto Cotford Road and up into Roncombe Lane. I am told by the company that properties directly affected have been contacted by letter to advise them of the distruption.

The works will involve the stretch of Cotford Road between the Buckley Road junction and the Roncombe Lane junction being closed to traffic from 28 February to 25 March.

I have made the point about the impact on residents of the closure of the A375 and the lack of broader communication to residents.

The company has agreed to review whether it can reduce the length of time that the A375 will be closed or whether it can allow the works to be undertaken without fully closing the road. Once it lets me know the outcome of this review I will post an update.

Residents who have any concerns or enquiries about the works or road closures should contact Wales & West Utilities Customer Srrvices on 0800 912 299 or by email


John Loudoun

Greenhead closure - latest advice from South West Water
February 8th 2022

Greenhead and Furzehill have just received a letter from the South West Water street works team about the work that will close the lower part of Greenhead next week for anything up to ten days or so. This letter has sparked concern and some confusion about whether, as I had previously been advised by South West Water, Furzehill would remain fully accessible whilst the works were being undertaken.

I have therefore gone back to the Liaison Officer at South West Water to seek clarification about what this latest letter means. The response I received today says that whilst the letter states that South West water will be closing “near 4 Greenhead” the Officer has checked Google maps and that is in the proximity of the location they will be closing.  He told me “Bristol Cottage is actually labelled on Google maps as “Sweet Satisfaction, Creative Cake Design” – which is next to 4 Greenhead”.

South West Water confirm “our trench will in fact be diagonal from this point gong across the road and terminating just west of the main junction with Furzehill– which will enable us to maintain access from the A375/Chapel Street/Fore Street junction”.

The Officer has reassured me that during these works the two Furzehill access roads off of Greenhead will remain open.

I hope that this detail is actually what South West Water stick to. I will pop up to Greenhead during next Monday to see for myself what is closed off.

John Loudoun

Extra dog poo bin for Sidbury
February 3rd 2022

I have lobbied Sidmouth Town Council to provide an additional dog poo bin for the Cotford end of the village.

As part of the 2022/23 financial year, which starts at the beginning of April, the Town Council will finance the installation and regular emptying of this extra bin. At present I don't know when the bin will be put in place, but I would like it to happen as soon after the start of the financial year as possible. I have suggested that it ought to be located in the vicinty of the bus stop at Cotford.

I hope that this will be helpful to the dog walkers who walk through this part of the village.

John Loudoun

Greenhead closure - 14th up until possibly 22nd February
January 27th 2022

I am advised that residents in Greenhead and Furzehill have been advised by South West Water that on 14 February it will be digging up and therefore closing Greenhead from then possibly until 22 February. South West Water say they hope though to complete the work within 3 days. See below the detail taken from the letter from South West Water advising residents.

The work is taking place outside Bristol Cottage, located just above the lower entrance to Furzehill. As a result, a diversion is in place to allow traffic to avoid Greenhead. The problem with this is that unavoidably it takes vehicles the long way around via narrow potholed lanes. The alternative published route is via Ottery Lane which exits onto the A375 opposite the entrance to the sewerage treatment works in Sidford. See below details of the alternative route which was sent out with South West Water’s letter.

I have raised residents’ concerns with our County Councillor as DCC is responsible for authorising road closures and alternative routes, and South West Water. I have now been advised by South West Water that the lower and top entrances into Furzehill will remain open throughout the works.

This is good news for Furzehill residents.

Others will no doubt realise and use the road through Furzehill as a quicker alternative route. All I hope is those that do this remember to respect those who live there and to drive carefully and slowly as children and those with mobility difficulties live there.

Letter from South West Water -

The Occupier

Our ref: 9146711

Date: January 2022

Dear Customer

Road closure notice: BRISTOL COTTAGE, GREENHEAD, SIDBURY, SIDMOUTH, EX10 0RH on Monday, 14 February 2022 to Tuesday, 22 February 2022

We are installing a new water supply in the above location. So that we can undertake this work safely and efficiently, we’ll need to close a small section of Greenhead, just east of the junction with Furzehill opposite Bristol Cottage.

We will endeavour to complete our works in three days from Monday, 14 February 2022. However, please note that our road permit allows us to remain on the road until Tuesday, 22 February 2022 if necessary.

To ensure that disruption to our customers, local businesses and traffic is kept to a minimum, a road diversion will be put in place which has been agreed with the local Highways Authority. Signs will also be placed in the relevant locations to direct the traffic through the diversion.

Vehicle access will be maintained for residents and businesses affected by the closure, including Furzehill, via the diversion – direction dependant on which side of the closure a property falls.

Please see overleaf for a plan of the closure location and diversion route. Please be assured that the Emergency Services have been made aware that the road will be closed and in the unlikely event of an emergency, we will work with them to provide access to any sick or injured parties. Local bus companies, schools and refuse collectors have also been notified.

Pedestrian access will remain unaffected.

If you have any additional requirements or would like any further information, please contact the South West Water Helpline on 0344 346 2020.

Thank you for your patience and understanding whilst we carry out this essential work. We’d like to assure you that every effort will be made to keep disruption to a minimum and for the work to be completed as quickly as possible.

Yours faithfully

South West Water

Alternative route details –

Greenhead to Chapel Street to Burnt Oak to Ottery Lane to Higher Greenhead to Greenhead (and vice-versa).

John Loudoun

East Devon District Council's updated advice on bonfires
April 9th 2020

East Devon District Council is regularly updating its advice to residents on its services and what we all should be doing during the coronavirus difficulties. Its worth keeping an eye on this advice at

Many residents with gardens are making use of them now the weather has turned nice. As gardens are tidied up and whilst the District Council’s green waste service has been suspended to allow resources to be directed to keeping the recycling and landfill waste collections going, many residents are considering burning their garden waste.

Bonfires can cause annoyance and aggravate some people’s health conditions, so please take a look at the District Council’s updated advice on bonfires the introduction to which starts -

Bonfires during the Coronavirus outbreak

Please avoid having any bonfires whilst the Coronavirus controls are in place if smoke or smell from them might affect neighbours or aggravate any health conditions.

Cut up your woody garden waste and store it somewhere safe to dry out for the next few months.

Never burn garden waste that is still green or recently cut, and never burn any other household waste.

John Loudoun

Queuing comes to Sidbury!
April 3rd 2020

Who would ever thought that residents would have to queue up the road to do their shopping in Drews of Sidbury!

A great village asset being widely supported by its community.

John Loudoun

Take aways from the Red Lion continue
March 26th 2020

Let's continue to support our local pubs, restaurants and cafes that are able to offer take away services during these difficult time!

Our local village pub here in Sidbury, the Red Lion, is obviously closed for normal business. However, as they are able to do, the pub is offering a limited take away service on food and alcohol.

The Red Lion's reduced its take away hours to 6.00 - 9.00 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. The pub has some stock of Otter beer, lager and cider available to take away, but you would need to provide your own containers.

The Red Lion can be contacted on 01395 597313.

John Loudoun

Sidmouth Town Council COVID-19 Community Resources Leaflet
March 23rd 2020

Sidmouth Town council has responded swiftly to the coronavirus difficulties we are all facing and has produced highlighting some of the key community resources available for residents in Sidmouth and the wider Sid Valley.

The leaflet is in the process of being delivered door to door by over 100 volunteers. Many of you will already have received yours. Below is a link to the leaflet.

Whilst much of the leaflet is taken up with providing information about which local small businesses will deliver food and groceries, it also highlights community groups which can offer support and assistance to those who are isolated and required to stay at home continually.

Please also do your bit by looking out for friends and neighbours who need help, assistance or just a friendly word (from a distance!). If needed you can cut out and post through a neighbour's door a postcard which gives them your contact details. But please, don't put yourself or others at risk whenever you try to be a good neighbour.

Stay safe

John Loudoun

Reserved shopping time for those in the greatest of need
March 23rd 2020

Here's the latest information about the supermarket opening times for NHS workers, as well as for the elderly, disabled and vulnerable members in our communities. Please shop responsibly and respect the reserved slots for those in the greatest of need.

Stay safe

John Loudoun

Red Lion supporting the village
March 20th 2020

Richard and Bib at Sidbury's Red Lion are offering a take away service. Let's support our local landlord and landlady as they enter such uncertain times. they are also offering to help with local shopping needs too.

John Loudoun

Sidbury Coronavirus Support
March 16th 2020

As a result of the coronavirus some people in the village will find themselves unable or unwilling to leave their homes or go to the shops.

Our village shop, Drews of Sidbury, are offering anyone in that situation to take their shopping order over the telephone and to deliver it directly to their doorstep.

Volunteers are needed to help with the deliveries. Please let Drews know if you are willing to help with making deliveries in the village.

If you have any neighbours who you think may have to shut themselves away at home and who might need help or assistance during these difficult times, please do the neighbourly thing, and keep in regular contact with them.

Local contact points –

Drews of Sidbury 

Tel: 01395 597373

St Giles Church, Sidbury (Pam Ward) 

Tel: 01395 597691

Beacon Medical Centre or Blackmore Health Centre   

Tel: 01395 512601

NHS Coronavirus Contact Line

Tel: 111

Please remember –

Wash your hands regularly

If you think you have coronavirus symptoms, then self-isolate

Don’t put your health or that of others at risk when being a good neighbour, but if you can, help those in need

John Loudoun

Home deliveries during Coronavirus restrictions
March 15th 2020

Drews of Sidbury are offering to make home deliveries to allow those who are unable to leave their homes due to either Coronavius illness or having to self-isolate.

Anyone wanting to request the use of this home delivery service should telephone Drews on 01395 587373.

If you know of anyone in the village and the surrounding area who is facing difficulties in getting out to the shops please be a good friend/neighbour and check up on them, where you can offer to help them with their shopping and pass on Drews' kind offer and their phone number.

Finally, we are all being asked to shop responsibly and not to add to what is likely to be delivery difficulties for shops by bulk/panic buying. The more we try to shop as we normally do the less strain there will be in keeping shop shelves stocked.

Take care out there.

John Loudoun

Sidmouth Town Council Meeting - 2 February 2020
January 28th 2020

The Town Council meetings are open to members of the public to attend. The meetings are held at the Town Council offices at Woolcombe House, Woolcombe Lane, Sidmouth (just behind the police station).

The next meeting is being held on Monday 2 February, starting at 6.30pm. Here's the meeting agenda -

John Loudoun

Sidmouth Town Council Meeting – 6 January 2020
January 5th 2020

The next Sidmouth Town council meeting will be held on 6 January 2020, starting at 6.30 pm at the Town Council Offices in Sidmouth. This meeting is open to members of the public to attend.

The agenda for the meeting is here -

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 2 December 2019 are here -

John Loudoun

Remembering Sidbury's fallen
November 11th 2019

I was privileged yesterday to be able to lay a wreath on behalf of Sidmouth Town Council at Sidbury’s War Memorial in front of a pleasingly large crowd. We all then attended a service of Remembrance in St Giles church. We do remember them.

A big thanks to the members of the Fireworks Committee who acted as road marshals to ensure that the ceremony and the subsequent procession to the church were safe.

John Loudoun

Sidmouth Town Council Meeting – 4 November 2019
October 30th 2019

The next meeting of Sidmouth Town Council is being held on Monday 4 November. It starts at 6.30 pm at the Town Council’s Office at Woolcombe House, Woolcombe Lane, Sidmouth EX10 9BB, which is located just behind the police station.

The meeting is open to members of the public to attend, so feel free to come along!

The agenda for the meeting can be viewed at –

The Minutes of the previous Council meeting, held on 21 October,  can be read at -

John Loudoun

Town Council grants for local voluntary organisations
October 3rd 2019

Calling all voluntary organisations in the village! Each year the Town Council gives grants out to local voluntary organisations.

Perhaps yours might want to consider applying. If you do want to apply applications must be submitted by 16 December.

If there’s anything I can do to help then don’t hesitate to contact me.

The link to the grant application is here -

Good luck!

John Loudoun

Sidmouth Town Council Meeting – 7 October 2019
October 1st 2019

The next meeting of Sidmouth Town Council is on Monday 7 October, starting at 6.30 pm at the Town Council Offices at Woolcombe House in Sidmouth. The public are welcome to attend, so come along!

The agenda for the meeting can be viewed at -

The Minutes of the previous meeting are here -

John Loudoun

Sidbury Speedwatch is GO!
September 27th 2019

Sidbury Speedwatch Group is now up and running to keep the speed down throgh the village.

John Loudoun

Sidmouth Town Council Meeting - 2 September 2019
August 31st 2019

The next meeting of the Sidmouth Town Council is on Monday 2 September, starting at 6.30pm at the Town Council Offices at Woolcombe House. It’s open to members of the public, so pop along and listen to what is going on!

Unfortunately, I won’t be there but I’m sure it will get along fine in my absence!

The meeting’s agenda is here –

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 5 August are here –

John Loudoun

Sidmouth Air Display
August 17th 2019

Don't forget the air display down on the sea front this coming Friday evening, 23 August, starting at 6.00 pm. Whilst its a no show from the Red Arrows there will be plenty of other aircraft to enjoy. A real family occasion. Proudly supported by Sidmouth Town Council.

John Loudoun

Cotford Road railings being repaired - finally!
August 16th 2019

For months I have been chasing the County Council, whose responsibility the railings are, to replace them. 

Finally, today the contractors are on site and are replacing the damaged and broken railings. Ideally, I would have liked the County Council to have taken the opportunity to replace the whole stretch of railings and replace them with something a bit more nice looking. But you can't have everything!

Here is a photo of the work in progress.

John Loudoun

Sidbury Gunslingers are coming!
July 24th 2019

Be careful out there on Sidbury's mean streets!

John Loudoun

Sidbury Gun Slingers getting ready to take aim!
July 21st 2019

After a long delay the Devon & Cornwall Police have now vetted and approved a number of Sidbury residents to become the village speedwatch group. The speedwatch group was created by the Sidbury Traffic Action Group in response to local concerns about the speed, size and volume of traffic through Sidbury.

Last April in response to local concerns about the traffic the highways authority, Devon County Council, placed a static speed recording sensor on Cotford Road for a week. This sensor recorded the speed of each vehicle that passed through the village 24 hours a day for that week.

The speed sensor recorded that 30,255 vehicles drove through the village in the week and that 88% of the vehicles went at speeds in excess of the enforceable 20 mph zone that exists within the centre of the village.

The next step for the speedwatch group is to undertake their training which is hope to take place in early September. Once that has been completed then the group will, initially under the supervision of PCSO Phil Thomas, their police buddy, be training their speed guns on vehicles travelling through the village.

Currently the speedwatch group is intending to be locate at positions at both ends of the village. In this way it is anticipated that the group will be able to identify speeding vehicles travelling in both directions. Although the group do not have the powers to stop vehicles that are speeding, they will be recording full details of those vehicles that do.

The details recorded by the group would then be passed onto to the police who follow each one up directly with the driver. Any driver who travels in excess of 22 mph in the 20 mph zone makes themselves at risk of receiving a penalty.

Locally the group has been nicknamed the Sidbury Gun Slingers because they will be using speed guns!

Once the group has concluded their training then further information will be circulated.

Below is a photograph of the group at their latest meeting.

Sidbury Gun Slingers

John Loudoun

24 July 2019 Sidmouth Town Council Planning Committee
July 21st 2019

The next meeting of Sidmouth Town Council’s Planning Committee is being held on Wednesday 24 July commencing at 6.30 pm at the Town Council offices. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

This is the agenda for the meeting –

Here are the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 10 July –

John Loudoun

Report of 1 July Sidmouth Town Council Meeting
July 6th 2019

The Town Council meeting was held in a fairly hot room that even with the windows open and without the benefit of air conditioning was a bit on the warm side!

The new Council is starting to find its feet and there is good engagement between the Town Councillors around the table with a friendly workmanlike approach to business. As always there were a number of interesting issues that we discussed and/or made decisions on.

Here’s a flavour of the meeting.

Sidmouth beach lifeguards – last year the Town Council agreed to support the introduction of paid for lifeguards on the beach in Sidmouth. A report from the RNLI was commissioned about the requirements for lifeguards and sufficient funds appear to have been raised by the Sidmouth Lifeboat to fund lifeguards for about five years.

Unfortunately, so far nothing has come of the idea to provide lifeguards at peak times because it appears that the District Council, who’s responsibility the beach is, has determined that it would want a 10-year contract let for lifeguard provision. If the reason why the provision of lifeguards on our local beaches is down to contract issues that the District Council has put this issue to the back burner then that is wrong.

As I am also a District Councillor, I have started to ask questions of the relevant Officers and am pressing for this to be dealt with and resolved as a matter of priority.

Policing update – as always Sargent Andy Squire presented a report on local policing activities over the past month and provided key statistics looking at the past year’s activities.

Overall reported crimes compared to this time last year have increased whilst incidents have decreased.

Fairtrade Sidmouth – the Town has been a designated Fairtrade town for a number of years now. To be a designated town under Fairtrade it must encourage maximum promotion of the use of, and sale of, Fairtrade goods across Sidmouth and the Sid Valley. The Council agreed to renew its Fairtrade status.

Fire Beacon Nature Reserve – the Town Council owns the Fire Beacon Nature Reserve which it contracts the RSPB to look after and run on its behalf and has done so since the early 1990’s. A positive update was received from the RSPB about its management of the Reserve which is very popular not only with walkers, but also dog walkers and bird watchers.

If you haven’t explored the Reserve then perhaps it’s time you did! This link will take you to more information about the Reserve and gives you its location –

 Use of the Ham – the Town Council encourages maximum use of the Ham which is ideally situated to support local public events such as funfairs and festivals. Whenever large numbers of people gather for events they will always need to be policed and managed carefully. A small group will look at what requirements the Town Council should in future place on organisations which use the Ham, with a particular emphasis on keeping good discipline amongst those who attend the events.

Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan – the Plan has been through local consultation and a subsequent redrafting which was submitted to an independent evaluator. The revised and final version of the Plan has now been submitted to the District Council which has the responsibility for approving it. This approval would be given in light of a positive vote amongst residents in a referendum on the plan. The referendum vote will take place on Thursday 19 September.

Unfortunately, it appears that there won’t be any postal votes allowed. I am however making representations to the local Electoral Returning Officer on this as I think that disallowing postal votes would lead to a lower turn out which would be unfortunate and unhelpful.

A group of Town Councillors is working on how to promote the Plan and to maximise the number of residents voting in the referendum. Watch out for more information in the local press. You can catch up with the Plan at –

John Loudoun

Trial month for lower price bus fares to & from Exeter
June 25th 2019

Stagecoach have just started a month-long trial of reducing the cost of travel on route 9 which will allow local residents to travel to and from Exeter more cheaply. Depending on how this trial goes the fares will either remain at the lower level or they will revert back to the pre-trial level.

It seems therefore that the more people who take advantage of using the bus to go to and from Exeter during the next month then the more likely it is that the fares will remain at the lower price.

So, get travelling!

Here’s how the Sidmouth Herald reported the story –

John Loudoun

26 June 2019 Sidmouth Town Council Planning Committee
June 20th 2019

The next meeting of Sidmouth Town Council’s Planning Committee is being held on Wednesday 26 June commencing at 6.30 pm at the Town Council offices. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

This is the agenda for the meeting –

Here are the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 12 June –

John Loudoun

15 June village fete
June 16th 2019

Yesterday saw a packed Sidbury village fete held next door to us in the grounds of the Primary School. It was great to see so many people there especially after so much recent rain the sun shone all afternoon. 

It would have been  awful if everyone’s hard work had been wasted due to bad weather. So many villagers work so hard it making the fete a fun and successful annual event.

People were queuing to get in a full half an hour before opening time! 

Looking forward to finding how much was raised.


John Loudoun

12 June Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce Breakfast
June 12th 2019

First thing this morning I was pleased to be invited to attend Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce's regular business breakfast. Here I was able to meet a couple of dozen representatives of our local businesses across the town. This was made the more enjoyable as I was able to indulge myself in a rare treat – a cooked breakfast!

On a sombre note the representatives present heard about the very sad death of the Chamber's young Treasurer, Matt Portman, who was only 35 when he passed away following having been taken ill whilst recently on holiday in Cyprus.

Matt leaves a wife, Sue, and two young children, Sophie and Will. Everyone at the breakfast clearly felt the loss of Matt.

If anyone would like to contact the Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce its website is

Representatives from Sidmouth in Bloom gave a presentation on their activities which brighten up the town and bring so much pleasure to residents and visitors alike. The floral displays across Sidmouth, as we were reminded receive regular awards not only within the South West, but nationally too.

I have asked Sidmouth in Bloom (SIB) to let me have their presentation from this morning and once I receive it, I shall post it here. In the mean time here are some of the key points that I took from what they said –

Ø  SIB won the 2018 RHS Best park Award;

Ø  On 15 July the town displays will be judged by South West in Bloom judges;

Ø  For £15 you will be able to visit 7 different “Secluded Gardens” gardens across Sidmouth from 27 June until 1 July;

Ø  SIB was actively involved in last year's Sidmouth Science Festival and works closely with local schools;

Ø  SIB receives a couple of small grants from the Town Council and the Keith Owen Fund but needs to raise an additional £9,000 or so annually to fund its activities – a subtle hint here!

It's worthwhile going onto the Sidmouth in Bloom website to see more about their activities and awards or they can be contacted by email at

This was the business breakfast attendees watching and listening to the Sidmouth in Bloom’s presentation –


Business Breakfast

John Loudoun

The village celebrating D-Day
June 12th 2019

The village's Grade II listed War Memorial dressed to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. Looking splendid!


Sidbury War Memorial

John Loudoun

12 June Sidmouth Town Council Planning Committee
June 11th 2019

The next Sidmouth Town Council Planning Committee is being held on Wednesday 12 June starting at 6.30 pm at the Council’s offices at Woolcombe House. The meeting is open to the public.

Here’s the meeting agenda –

These are the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 22 May –

John Loudoun

Report of 10 June Sidmouth Town Council Meeting
June 11th 2019

The Sidmouth Town Council had a packed agenda when it met last evening, 10 June. Here’s my report on the meeting.

Policing update – at each Town Council meeting our local police sargent Andy Squires provides Councillors with an update on policing activities. The main issue that dominated Andy’s report centred around policing the fun fair that occupied the Ham over last weekend. The fun fair is a regular sight in Sidmouth and is a welcomed attraction for families and youngsters in particular.

Sargent Squires was complimentary about the security within the fun fair itself and highlighted the difficulties that arise in and around Sidmouth at times like this. There are however two main difficulties that come with the fun fair.

Firstly, there are the number of youths who come to the into Sidmouth to visit the fun fair from other local towns such as Honiton and Ottery. This can lead to skirmishes between the various groups of youths.

Secondly, and this relates to local youths, as well as to those from elsewhere, and that is the problems associated with under-age drinking. The police, whose resources are incredibly limited locally, find themselves having to try to take illicit alcohol off of the youngsters, as well as having to handle belligerent youths whose attitude and actions have been fuelled by drink, and also having to respond to those who have been badly affected by excessive drinking.

Both of these sets of issues are similar to those that are encountered elsewhere in the country and the police don’t believe that the level and number of associated incidents have increased over recent years, but they are matters that use up much police time not only when they are dealing with them and also in the aftermath of the events.

Sargent Squires was at pains to say that he didn’t blame the fun fair organisers for the difficulties, but rather it pointed to a broader set of social issues which stretch what has become a very thin blue line.

Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan – the text of the draft Plan is in the process of being amended to reflect the changes that the Independent Examiner had sought. Once this is complete then the draft Plan will be submitted, hopefully in the next week or so, to the District Council for its agreement.

Once signed off by the District Council, the draft Plan will then be put out to a referendum of local residents. All being well the referendum could take place as soon as mid-September. In the mean-time a timetabled communication plan is to be developed as the Council wants to maximise the number of residents who vote in the referendum.

 Bank account – the Council agreed that it will review who it banks with in order to try to find a provider that has a good ethical record. I voted to support this proposal.

 Prayers before Council meetings – it has been a long-standing tradition in many local government organisations, and in Parliament, to open Council meetings and Parliamentary proceedings with a prayer session. This is not obligatory and some time ago Parliament did away with its daily prayer session, as have many local authorities.

The Council discussed whether to follow suit and abandon the prayer session that it holds at the start of each Council meeting. I spoke about the fact that we now lived in a secular society which divided church from State, whilst recognising the important roles that the various religious faiths play in individual’s and wider society’s life. I felt that it was anachronistic to start our meetings with a religious offering.

The majority of the Councillors also felt the same way and so we voted by a majority to end the holding of a prayer session before Council meetings. For clarity, I voted to end this session.

Environment Committee – a new council committee, the Environment Committee, was agreed to be established. This Committee would have as its core objective “to coordinate and improve the natural and built environment of the Sid Valley”. Given the very real and current problems facing us all with an environment that is being disrupted and destroyed as a result of climate change, the creation of this Committee is most welcome. I voted in support of this.

The Committee will soon be taking steps to co-opt representatives from key local organisations and I argued for this to include some youth representatives. These could be representatives from the youth club and/or local schools. I believe its important to involve them as it very much will be their world that we need to help to survive.

 Parking enforcement – we were invited to comment upon a number of parking restrictions in and around Sidmouth that were being proposed by the County Council. Surprisingly, one in particular exercised us for some while.

This parking restriction relates to a proposal to remove some existing parking bays outside the Kingswood and Devoran Hotels on the Esplanade in order to create a bus stopping site. We decided to recommend that the restriction should only allow stopping for up to a maximum of 20 minutes in order to ensure that the clients who sit outside of the Marine, Pea Green Boat and the hotels didn’t have their views blocked nor polluted.

 Council’s energy supply contracts – the Council will look at how it can start to source the energy, gas and electricity, from more green energy sources as part of its approach to reducing its carbon footprint. Within this it will seek to avoid contracting to use energy created from nuclear sources. I voted to support this proposal.

 Alma Field – the Council owns Alma Field on Alma Lane in Sidmouth and over recent years it has planted a great deal of flowers on it. The field at this time of year is spectacular and everyone is encouraged to visit it, not only for its own spectacle but also as it provides a great vantage point o view the town from.

The Sidmouth Herald reported four years ago of the Council’s intention to seed the field and in the story (see the link below) it shows how the field looked at the time –

The comparison to how it looks now (see the photo below) is incomparable. Don’t just take my view on this, go and have a look for yourself!


John Loudoun

Railings to be repaired - at last!
June 5th 2019

Back around Xmas time a car skidded off the road at the junction of Cotford Road and Ridgeway breaking through the metal railings and ending up half on the pavement and half on the road. Luckily the car didn't hit a pedestrian or hit any of the cottages.

Since then a temporary set of plastic barriers have provided an inadequate and unsightly barrier.

I have been told that the railings will soon be repaired to match the existing metal ones. Whilst I'm pleased to learn of this I believe that the existing metal barriers are not strong enough to protect pedestrians and the cottages, nor are they really in keeping with their surroundings. I will continue to press for stronger and nicer railings to replace these.

In case you can't quite picture the scene as it is today have a look at this photo -

Broken railings

John Loudoun

Sidmouth Town Council Meeting 10 June 2019
June 5th 2019

The next meeting of the Town Council is on Monday 10 June starting at 6.30 pm and it will be held at the Council’s office in Woolcombe Road, Sidmouth.

If you’re interested in finding out how the Council goes about the business of representing your local interests you can come along and observe and even at one point you can ask questions!

Here's the agenda for the meeting

And here are the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 13 May

John Loudoun

22 May 2019 Sidmouth Town Council Planning Committee
May 21st 2019

Attached is the agenda for the Town Council's Planning Committee meeting being held on 22 May. There are a few planning applications relating to properties in Sidbury. If you have any issues with any of these please let me know.

John Loudoun

Sidmouth Town Council Annual Meeting – 20 May 2019
May 21st 2019

This was the first meeting of the new Council. Within the 19 Town Councillors there are 9, including myself, for whom this was their first meeting having just been elected for a four-year period of office.

Elections – with the failure of the previous Council Chair, Ian McKenzie-Edwards, to be re-elected by the voters in his Ward in the recent elections there was the opportunity for a new face to step into this role. I put my hat in the ruing but was beaten to the position of Chair by the previous Vice Chair, Ian Barlow (Salcombe Regis Ward).

With Ian having been elevated from his role as Vice Chair it was time to elected a successor. The well-respected Councillor with special responsibility for overseeing the Council’s finances, Paul Wright (South Ward), was elected as Vice Chair.

Here’s a photograph of all of the recently elected Councillors -

Town Councillors

Police update – at each Council meeting Sargent Andy Squire, who leads our local police team, provides an update of key crime statistics. The good news seems to be – last month crime detection rates increased, year on year the number of crimes have reduced and despite pockets of incidents, such as anti-social behaviour by a few people, the area is seen as a safe one.

Andy has announced that he will be retiring next March. Hopefully, long before he goes, we will find out who will replace him in this important role.

Neighbourhood Plan – the Town Council has prepared a Neighbourhood Development Plan for the parish of Sidmouth with the help of the local community. The plan sets out a vision for the future of the parish and planning policies which will be used to determine planning applications locally.

The draft plan is currently being reviewed by an independent assessor. The plan will then be submitted to the District Council for its agreement and then it will be put out to a referendum of residents. It is not anticipated that a referendum will happen before either late summer or early autumn.

In the meantime, you can view the draft plan here –

Hopper Bus – the much-used bus, who’s season starts on Saturday 25 May, now has an additional welcome stop at the garden centre. The timetable for the hopper bus has as of yet to migrate to the Visit Sidmouth website. Once its available electronically I will post it. In the meantime, here’s how back in March the Sidmouth Herald reported the new route –

Sidbury War memorial – the War Memorial has now been given listed building status by Historic England. It is now pleasingly listed as a Grade II building and therefore it enjoys a degree of protection from future change. I believe that this is a most welcome move by Historic England and reflects the importance that the Memorial has as a commemoration of our war dead.

The Sidmouth Herald has reported this –

Meetings of the Town Council are held monthly at the Town Council’s offices in Woolcombe House which is located between the Byes and the police station. The meetings start at 6.30 pm and don’t usually last longer than 90 minutes to a couple of hours.

Town Council meetings are open to members of the public and you are able to ask a question of the Council in an open session. Why not come along and see for yourself how your Town Council works!

A final thought arising out of my first meeting is to ask the question – why does everyone at the meeting have to stand up every time they ask a question or make a contribution? I was told off for not standing up when I asked my first question! It seems to me to be a somewhat arcane practice. I hope that this unnecessary quaint practice will stop as it doesn’t seem to add anything to how the Council does its business.

John Loudoun

Sidmouth Hopper Bus Leaflet
May 21st 2019

The link to the latest Hopper Bus leaflet which includes the route and the timetable -

John Loudoun