SALCOMBE’S petition calling for the town’s permanent road sweepers to be reinstated was presented to South Hams Council last week.

The petition, which attracted 950 signatures, states: ‘We the undersigned wish the council to reconsider its plan to remove our two manual road sweepers and replace them with sporadic flying squads and machines.

Salcombe needs its road sweepers as they do far more than just sweep our roads.

‘They are part of our community and they do a fantastic job all year round.’

The impetus for the petition was the sudden loss of Chad Benson, who had been working in Salcombe for more than 16 years and had become a much-loved part of the community.

A small group of people travelled from Salcombe to Totnes to present the petition, including Judith Newman, who started the petition, Liz Hore, Nikki Turton and Carl Tillet.

When presenting the petition, Mrs Newman explained Chad’s current situation: ‘Chad is now off work on sick leave following an injury sustained while working on the dustbin lorry, a job that he didn’t want to be doing.

‘He is now suffering from depression and stress brought on by the move away from his position in Salcombe.’

After the meeting, Mrs Newman said: ‘I am very proud to have handed in the petition on behalf of all the people who signed it, both locals and holiday-makers alike.

‘A small group of us are not giving up on Chad’s situation and hope that a resolution or compromise can be made with SHDC. We have a meeting scheduled for late January.

‘It’s not always about money, this is a man’s life, his work and his pride and he should not have been treated so thoughtlessly.’

A spokesperson for South Hams Council said: ‘The chairman of South Hams Council, Cllr Peter Smerdon would like to thank the residents of Salcombe for their petition, which he accepted on behalf of the council.

‘This is essentially an employer / employee matter and we cannot comment on specific information relating to an employee.

‘Our relationship with our employees is completely confidential.’