SIR - Your correspondent Tony Coulson is right to warn against the insidious advance of multinationals in our town. If this trend is not checked, we will lose the individual shops and cafes which are so much part of Sidmouth’s identity, and its attraction as a tourist destination.
I also couldn’t agree more that new housing developments should be sustainable and according to need, not for short-term profit. It is surely important that we hold our local authorities to account on these and other issues of concern to us.
Regarding seagulls, too, there is much more the council could do. To “cull” them is, of course, not only morally unacceptable to the vast majority of people, but also does nothing to address the root of the problem: our own fast-food, waste-intensive culture.
Time and time again, I see visitors throwing chips to the gulls, oblivious to the damage they are doing. What we need are proper, informative signs in key places explaining why this is a bad idea: the small, easily missable ones placed erratically along the sea front are totally inadequate.
Another very simple step would be to ensure that all bins in town are covered: this is not - to invoke the common clich� - rocket science.
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All animals (ourselves included) are opportunists; we cannot make other species the scapegoats for our own thoughtless behaviour. “Culling”, if used at all, should, therefore, always be an absolute last resort when all humane - and more imaginative - alternatives have been exhausted.
Sharon L Howe
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Fortescue Road, Sidmouth