Sidmouth being ‘left behind’ with lack of town restoration

The pavements in Fore Street Sidmouth. Ref shs 34 17TI 9754. Picture: Terry Ife

The pavements in Fore Street Sidmouth. Ref shs 34 17TI 9754. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

There were calls for businesses to ‘get their act together’ as councillors debated the issue of Sidmouth’s dirty streets.

Sidmouth in Bloom’s chairman, Lynette Talbot, raised the problem of the increasingly dirty streets in an impassioned speech to the town council on Monday (November 5).

She said: “You’re going have to bite the bullet and start fighting for your patch. If Seaton can have great improvements done to it and Exmouth can have a nice new town square, why can’t we have new paving down the Fore Street and the market square? Why is Sidmouth being left a little behind?”

Lynette suffers from severe erosive inflammatory arthritis and fibromyalgia but manages to de-weed areas of the town.

She said: “The reason why there’s weeds down the streets is because no shopkeeper is going out on the whole, some are doing it but not all of them, are going out with a broom and sweeping into corners.”

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Councillor and independent trader Marc Kilsbie said larger chains need to pull their weight.

He said: “I’m just about to start my 12th year of trading. In that entire time, Boots’ gutters have never, ever been cleaned out.

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“I appreciate, we’ve all got a heavy work load and we’ve all got a lot to do but we all need to our bit - not just half a dozen independent traders.”

Boots had not replied to a request for comment at the time of going to press.

Cllr Ian Barlow said: “East Devon District Council (EDDC) were saying the other day of all the things they’ve achieved but perhaps what they should do is start looking at the town and perhaps they should start putting pressure on things that matter to people.”

A spokeswoman for EDDC said the authority does the ‘utmost to keep Sidmouth looking it’s best using our limited resources’.

“We have a dedicated team across the district and in Sidmouth we have two street cleaners and a mechanical sweeper driver. Recent feedback from our viewpoint residents survey showed that 71% of residents think that litter and rubbish ‘isn’t a very big problem’ or ‘isn’t a problem at all’.

“We’ve also recently started working with the Town Council to staff a monthly action day, where we target areas of concern or work on particular projects to clean up the town. This is working very well.”

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