Hello all,

Welcome to the first newsletter of the year: here's to a positive and transformative 2021

A new East Devon Local Plan:

Back in 2005, the VGS was founded, amongst other things, "to commend our vision to the Local Plan".

Ever since then, there have been plenty of visionings and commendations - and now we are off on another journey, with the District Council starting out on a new East Devon Local Plan and asking for public input.

The VGS, who had representatives on the Sid Valley's neighbourhood planning process, will be working with other groups on input for the local plan - and will be doing its own bit of consulting over the next couple of months: watch this space...

Here are some ideas, though, on how we could really plan in a visionary way - from the 15-minute neighbourhood (you need only quarter of an hour to walk to everything you need) ... to building with wood and cladding farm buildings with solar panels ... to a retrofitting programme for housing ... to looking at the 'sense of place' of areas like the high street or the Ham.

Looking to a vibrant, resilient economy:

If you're a local business, you might be interested in another survey the hospitality industry in the South West has put together - "to collect more hard evidence regarding the impact of Covid-19 and what support businesses need for their future survival and growth after Lockdown... to lobby for future sector support."

Sidmouth meanwhile can be looking to the 'digital and creative industries' to maximise opportunities as more of us work from home - and as we look to Sidmouth as a town of festivals and new creative ventures such as the Fishermen’s Shed Space.

And Exmouth is looking at an e-delivery bike scheme - which Sidmouth will be watching over the next two months of its feasibility study.

There are other projects aiming to boost the local economy being worked on: more later as they progress. See also the VGS news pages.

Looking after nature:

The Sid Valley Biodiversity Group continues to have regular pieces published in the press, from fleabane to creating a home for wildlife in the Byes.

One area of interest to explore might be the sea itself - and raising our 'ocean literacy' on things such as the fields of seagrass in Lyme Bay and its role as an 'ecosystem service'.

Looking after ourselves: food:

The local food coop and distributors In My Back Yard are expanding into Sidmouth.

And there are some tips in the meantime from Hugh W-F on ways to save food from the bin and use them up in a tastier way.

Looking after ourselves: Covid:

There has been helpful discussion on how to keep transmission levels low in Devon.


Don't forget to check out the VGS news pages for many more items.

And if you'd like to learn more about any of these initiatives, have any comments or would like to get involved, just get in touch.

So, keep safe and keep well - and look forward to seeing you next month.

All the best, The VGS team.


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