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New direction and new chair at the VGS

  • by JW

Vision Group for Sidmouth’s new chair aims “to make the town an even better place”


Last week, a special meeting was called:

New chair, new direction at the VGS – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The businessman behind Sidmouth’s newest tourist and cultural site was voted in as the Vision Group for Sidmouth’s new chair: Ian Gregory, owner of the Sidmouth Toy Museum, was unanimously chosen to lead the VGS over the next year at the special meeting.

He takes over from Peter Murphy, who is stepping down after putting together the Sustainable Sidmouth Champions Awards last year, celebrating the contributions from the community.

“I’m very excited about the Vision Group,” said Ian, “and am impressed by the range of issues it covers. Sidmouth is a very special place. It needs to be developed and enhanced, but in a sensitive way, building on the town’s facilities and assets.”

Ian also felt sustainability should continue to be a major focus for the VGS, including managing the environment for future generations. And in conclusion, the new chair said he would be very happy to work with colleagues to help make Sidmouth an even better place!

“I’m very grateful that Ian had offered to take on the position,” said Richard Eley, president of the Chamber of Commerce, at the meeting.

And former chair of the VGS, Dave Bramley, felt that the Vision Group was very unusual in offering a town the opportunity to debate issues over a wide range of challenges faced by the community.

Local businesswoman Eleanor Carr saw the VGS as an umbrella organisation, “bringing the community together.” She was particularly interested in the Solar Punk movement which the Vision Group is promoting – with its emphasis on creativity and technology as a response to climate change.

Graham Cooper, lead on the Neighbourhood Plan’s built environment group, captured the mood of the meeting with his enthusiastic proposals for saving the high street by encouraging creative approaches and making shops viable through retrofitting and repurposing.

Finally, newly elected VGS chair Ian declared “the group needs to focus on where it can make a meaningful impact. That’s its main challenge.”

To be part of that, get in touch with the Vision Group for Sidmouth on its website at

The full account of the special meeting can be found here:

VGS special meeting – 23jun22 – minutes – final