Ceremony to mark the opening of the Sidmouth Amphitheater

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A new amphitheater and flood reduction program on Knowle land was officially opened.

The amphitheater, with its central area surrounded by shallow grass bleachers, will be used for outdoor events and performances.

But it’s also a smart piece of engineering, providing decorative cover for underground storage tanks that can hold 150,000 gallons of water.


Another view of the amphitheater. showing tiered seats
– Credit: Archant

During very heavy rainfall, surface water will be channeled from Station Road through pipes into the park and into a shallow hollow in the ground called a channel to the amphitheater, where it will seep into underground containers.

This is the first phase of the diet; the second will concern the improvement of the drainage of the city center. The overall project aims to reduce the risk of flooding at more than 100 properties.

This is a partnership initiative involving Devon County Council, East Devon District Council which owns the land, Sidmouth City Council, Jacobs Engineering Firm, Agency for environment and South West Highways.

The amphitheater was officially opened on Friday 22 October by Devon County Council Chairman Jeff Trail BEM, who described it as “a fantastic addition to the city”.


County Council Chairman Jeff Trail cuts ribbon to open amphitheater

Devon County Council President Jeff Trail BEM performs the opening ceremony
– Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Councilor Stuart Hughes, a member of the County Council Motorway Management Cabinet, praised everyone involved, saying: being out of sight, giving the community a real asset that will attract people.


The center of the Sidmouth Amphitheater, with decorated stones

Detail of the decorative centerpiece of the amphitheater
– Credit: Archant

Some local residents had expressed concern that the work was taking so long. It started in August 2020 and was only supposed to last a few months.

Paul Hargreaves of Jacobs told the Sidmouth Herald this part of the design had to be changed when Covid restrictions prevented the importation of certain materials from Europe. Then months of wet weather left the soil too saturated to work, and contractors simply had to wait for it to dry.

He said he was very happy with the end result: “It’s a great finish and I hope it will be a fantastic asset for the people of Sidmouth.


Sidmouth City Council Chairman Ian Barlow at the amphitheater opening

Sidmouth City Council Chairman Ian Barlow addressing guests at the opening ceremony
– Credit: Archant


Information panel at the new Sidmouth Amphitheater

An information panel at the entrance to the amphitheater explains how the flood control system works and gives more details on the site.
– Credit: Archant


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