A much-loved bench in Ivybridge is often put out of action by people putting out rubbish.

Former South Hams District Councillor John O’Connell describes the situation:

“The seat under a tree at the bottom of Fore Street was used extensively as a resting and meeting place, especially for the elderly, mobility scooters and for mothers to meet school children from Manor Way School.

“The seat was extensively refurbished by South Hams just before Covid.

“During lockdown five waste bins arrived and as I understand without the agreement of The County Council, The District Council or The Town Council. They overflow and stink in summer so, no one sits on the seat anymore.

John has been highlighting what he says is the problem of having three councils serving each part of the South Hams.

He told us: “In the bins cardboard is mixed up with food waste so recycling is defeated. I first wrote to the DCC who control the pavements. They said it was a SHDC matter as it was waste. SHDC then referred me back to DCC as it is their pavement.”

John saw on Spotlight an interview with a Councillor in St Ives who was having a problem with people taking over the pavements and were going to use an Act passed in 2014.

He asked DCC to use this but they said it did not apply as the pavement was not blocked.

John represented Ivybridge for a quarter of a century while the town was being rapidly expanded and said they had constant battles to maintain the old town and its character.

He said: “I do have some sympathy for DCC who have made significant investment in Ivybridge over the last forty years.

“This this is really a SHDC. and Town problem.

“I went back to SHDC and asked about the environmental health aspect of this. They replied that it was not their problem as the waste is not on the ground.

“They obviously only are worried by walking seagulls and disabled rats.’’

‘“Further pushed the chairman of waste at SHDC said they did not want the bins removed as they would lose revenue.”

We have approached SHDC for a comment.