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Celebrating our high streets

  • by JW

A possible theme for the Sustainable Sidmouth Champion Awards 2025?


Last month, English Heritage published the results of its look at the high street – which brought up the question: Should we be creating an archive of Sidmouth high street, both ancient and modern?

Sidmouth High Street with bunting and flags

This was shared on the Sidmouth Remembers pages, which make up a fabulous photographic archive – and indeed there has been some interest in such a project from a heritage point of view.

Interestingly, though, the English Heritage project was about looking at the current high street across the country within its cultural context:

Picturing High Streets has been a partnership between Historic England and Photoworks, helping to build a contemporary picture of England’s high streets through mass public participation and community engagement. It has revealed how important the high street can be as a space for people to come together and connect.

Maybe a theme for the Sustainable Sidmouth Champion Awards 2025?

Meanwhile in Ottery, they are celebrating their high street through practical projects:

Businesses have praised a council for initiatives to help support them and boost trade. Ottery St Mary Town Council introduced a grants scheme offering up to £500 to repaint and update shop fronts, along with late night shopping, Christmas events, and a Visit Ottery campaign project. Businesses said the shop fronts project had helped boost footfall.

The deputy mayor said the town council was doing “everything it can” to help. Earlier this year, the South West Business Council said one in five shops were empty across the region and 1,800 premises closed in 2022. The town centre has had five shops open in recent months, the town council said.

Ottery St Mary town centre shops praise council for initiatives – BBC News

Maybe some ideas for Sidmouth Town Council?