SIR - Oh dear! Why do you choose to highlight Mr Johnson’s whinge about FolkWeek bringing ‘a real fear of crime’ by ‘gangs of undesirables………shouting and drinking on the streets, mindless disorder, late night music blasting out disturbing the peace of residents’? You could equally well have highlighted the letter from visitor Mr Cosgrove, enthusing about the week’s music and ‘the kindness and hospitality of Sidmouth people’.
Presumably these same Sidmouth people were the business owners Mr Johnson says are ‘lost in the name of self-greed’ during ‘an event funded by Sidmouth tax payers against our will’? It’s amazing how many residents support the FolkWeek, not only via the Town and District Councils, but, also, voluntarily, through many local organisations: the churches provide venues, also the Cricket Club, the Rugby Club, and others. The Trustees of the Keith Owen Fund contributed towards the young people’s activity so successfully run in Blackmore Gardens. I imagine none of these would co-operate if they were not happy with the ethos of FolkWeek or, again, are they just motivated by greed Hardly!
I have only lived here for eight years, during which I have watched the demise of the professionally-promoted International Dance and Folk Music Festival, to be seamlessly replaced by a new, still evolving voluntary organisation striving to be as inclusive of local residents and organisations as possible. As an interested observer (ratepayer and taxpayer), I am always concerned that local businesses should thrive so that our lovely town can continue to keep the variety of shops and activities that give us the range of goods and services that we enjoy and share. We can continue to delight in the gardens, open spaces and public facilities all year through, and know that , as residents, these are all a function of the town we have chosen to live in with its economy wholly dependent on the hospitality industry.
The nature of this place is created by its unique location, shoe-horned into a narrow green valley and fronted by a charming esplanade.
These have spawned a thriving community, seeking to retain the best and to hold its place in a competitive world. As with any community there come tensions and imperfections, witness the Letters Page! But I, for one, am always glad when the sun finally comes out, the visitors arrive and we can be pleased that our businesses have a chance to thrive and evolve to our mutual benefit.
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