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Sidmouth amphitheatre damaged by vandals

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Vandals have damaged the new amphitheatre in the grounds of the Knowle in Sidmouth which opened just last year.

The edges of some of the stone steps in the amphitheatre have been smashed within the last couple of days.

The Police have been notified and Devon County Council is appealing for anyone with information to come forward to help with enquiries.

The amphitheatre is part of a £1 million flood alleviation scheme, and beneath it is an underground water storage system which has the capacity to contain floodwater up to a one in 30-year storm event. The tiered sections above ground, which have been targeted by vandals, are also designed to store water during a one in 100-year storm event.

Estimates are yet to be carried out on how much it may cost to replace the steps or whether they can be repaired.

Councillor Roger Croad, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Communities and Equality, said:

“This is mindless vandalism of something that is a unique and vital asset for the town. The amphitheatre is part of a scheme primarily designed to protect the town, which makes this even more galling. I would urge anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the grounds of the amphitheatre to report it to the Police.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes, County Councillor for Sidmouth, said:

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking that anyone could do this. This structure was built for the community of Sidmouth, and while the flood alleviation scheme protects homes and businesses from flooding, the amphitheatre also provides a public space for the local community. If anyone has any information on who might have caused this damage, I would appeal for them to contact the Police.”

The amphitheatre was officially opened last October by Devon County Council Chair, Councillor Jeff Trail BEM, at a ceremonial event.

The scheme was constructed by South West Highways and was developed through the County Council’s Surface Water Management Plan for Sidmouth after properties in the town were flooded in November 2014. It was funded by Devon County Council, DEFRA Flood Defence Grant in Aid and a Local Levy contribution administered by the South West Flood and Coastal Committee.