Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Town crier to open new-look Watchet Esplanade

THE official opening of a new-look Watchet Esplanade will be celebrated on Saturday with a packed programme of events.
West Somerset Council secured £138,380 of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) and more than £51,000 from the Somerset Rural Renaissance Partnership to enhance the area alongside one of West Somerset’s best-loved historic ports.
The enhancement project included infrastructure such as market stalls to enable the town to host local farmers and craft markets, new seating, audio/visual equipment, a refurbishment of the current shelters to include an information point, new paving in some areas, railings, lamps, curved benches, planters, and new tree plantings to boost the overall appearance.
District council chairman Councillor Jenny Hill, who is also a Watchet town councillor, said: “We are delighted with the project.
“It is now a really good area for tourists and the local community to enjoy.
“We are looking forward to the opening and to The Esplanade hosting a range of other events for the benefit of everybody.”
Town council chairman, Councillor David Banks, said: “The open day is essentially a community day where local organisations can take advantage of the enhanced facility.”
The celebrations start at 11.30 am with the cutting of a ceremonial ribbon by Alec Danby, who has served Watchet as town crier for 20 years.
A samba band, balloon modelling, the Rattlebox Theatre, Raventale Giants, and wandering clowns are also lined up to keep the crowds entertained for the afternoon.
Other activities will include a climbing wall, trampolines, hair braiding, and face painting, as well as a vintage car display and a variety of stalls on The Esplanade.
West Somerset Council’s acting head of paid service, Adrian Dyer, said: “It is great to see this project come to fruition and to see The Esplanade being enjoyed by local people.
“As well as providing new seating and renovating the shelters and paving, there is now provision for the town to host markets which will attract more visitors to this lovely, historic seaside town.”
A programme of events for the day is available from the Watchet Tourist Office or by emailing tourism@watchettowncouncil.org or telephoning 01984 632101.
The official opening celebrations will continue until 4.30 pm.

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