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Sidmouth is “really doing rather well”

  • by JW

“…a destination town with a record of both preservation of values/heritage and resilience in facing up to the challenges of Lockdowns.”


There is a lot of promise for seaside towns:

“Staycations may be on the cusp of a new golden age.”

“The UK is now about to enter an era of increased remote working.”

The survival of British seaside towns post-Covid – Vision Group for Sidmouth


There is indeed a lot of promise for quite a few ‘traditional’ seaside towns:

The secret behind Scarborough’s success > “the perfect balance between traditional seaside charm and up-to-date attractions that appeal to people of all ages” – Vision Group for Sidmouth


And in many ways, Sidmouth’s profile is ideal for a ‘renaissance’

Sidmouth, a classic west country seaside resort: “this quintessential Victorian seaside resort is beginning to buck the trend” – Vision Group for Sidmouth


Back in 2018, the VGS contributed to a Lord’s inquiry into seaside towns:

Vision Group report published by House of Lords committee on “Regenerating seaside towns and communities” – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Lords’ report on Seaside regeneration – Vision Group for Sidmouth


And in 2007, a similar inquiry by the Communities Department showed the likes of Sidmouth was doing quite well:

However, there is considerable variation between seaside towns, with some towns faring markedly better than others and in quite a number of cases better than England as a whole.

The ‘economic’ data suggests that Bognor Regis, Exmouth, Greater Bournemouth, Greater Brighton, Greater Worthing, Sidmouth, Southport, Swanage, Whitley Bay and Whitstable/Herne Bay have the stronger local economies among seaside towns.

England’s Seaside Towns: A ‘benchmarking’ study


Now a new report is being put together by the Chief Medical Officer, looking at the “unique health challenges” faced by those living on the coast:

Chris Whitty sent in to save Britain’s sick seaside towns | News | The Sunday Times

Chris Whitty sent in to save Britain’s sick seaside towns | East Devon Watch


Sidmouth should not be complacent or get too smug, but it has so far not suffered the privations, health and otherwise, of many other seaside towns.

As a commentator suggests, following on from the Sunday Times report:

Highlights in this post are that our economy is strong, and seaside towns lack academic achievement etc. Does Sidmouth need Chris Whitty? I think we’re really doing rather well thus far, as a destination town with a record of both preservation of values/heritage and resilience in facing up to the challenges of Lockdowns.


And so, to refer to previous news pieces, Sidmouth’s heritage shows it as a ‘destination town’:

Celebrating Sidmouth’s heritage – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The importance of heritage to the local economy – Vision Group for Sidmouth


The place certainly promotes ‘positive values’:

Biodiversity Week in the Sid Valley – Vision Group for Sidmouth

VGS announce Sustainable Sidmouth Champions Awards 2021 – Vision Group for Sidmouth


And the Valley has been pretty resilient these last months:

“As one shopkeeper on Church Street says, we are very lucky in Sidmouth that no shops have had to close because of the pandemic.”

Honouring our small shops – Vision Group for Sidmouth

“Created by a group of independent and small-scale farmers, producers and community members, In My Back Yard aims to build a more resilient, nourishing and community-centred food system for the local area.”

In My Back Yard: new East Devon food network expands – Vision Group for Sidmouth

“Places like Sidmouth might even benefit from an exodus of WFH types from the cities. By the sea, beautiful environs, safe for the kids, etc. Cheap offices available if some kind of bricks and mortar presence is required. We might see an influx of rat race escapees.

“I’m told that the average age in Sidmouth fell ( albeit from a very high number ) at the last census. Sidmouth is getting younger. This was discussed at the time, and I think the general view is that it was due to younger families with computer-based jobs coming to the town. On that subject, it seems to me that visitors to our town are getting younger, judging by the people on the Esplanade.” 

Working from home: a Sidmouth perspective – Vision Group for Sidmouth