Residents and shops all have a stake in Sidmouth
SIR On Monday, I spent a few minutes clearing away the detritus at one of the gateways to our pleasant town, the 300-year-old Old Meeting.
SIR - On Monday, I spent a few minutes clearing away the detritus at one of the gateways to our pleasant town, the 300-year-old Old Meeting. The chapel porch and grass area in front was, as is now customary, littered with take-away boxes, discarded food, beer cans and a cheap vodka bottle.We can scarcely blame the culprits. It seems that Tesco, opposite the chapel, is licensed to sell on Sunday nights until 11pm, at which point the staff are instructed to take the Tesco litter bin away and tot up the profits on the day.This is just one example of the general degradation of Sidmouth, which is being stemmed to some extent by vigorous voluntary action on the part of concerned citizens. But a more comprehensive set of solutions is needed.Not only should commercial outlets take more responsibility for the consequences of their profitable activities - or face the prospect of a boycott by those who are disgusted by their trade.We also need to address the fact that a small but growing number of local people feel they have no stake in this community. Affordable housing, dedicated communal facilities, and a rebirth of civic pride may reduce these sad symptoms of disaffection and hopelessness among our fellow residents of all ages.Robert CrickGlenisla TerraceSidmouth