PARISH councillors will write to traders in Bishop’s Waltham after complaints that litter and cigarette butts are plaguing the town centre.

The issue was raised by residents at September’s High Street surgery, who said the problem was at its worst on Red Lion Street.

The matter was brought before the parish council on Tuesday by city Cllr Colin Chamberlain.

He said: “I do not know if the council are minded to contact Costa, but their outside tables are mainly occupied by smokers and it’s a real problem.

“I fear the local youths are using those tables too, as a meeting place, without necessarily buying things and inevitably the butts and litter get blown all over the place.”

But some councillors moved to defend the town’s traders.

Cllr Bill Gilling said: “It’s not just the traders and I have noticed the ladies up there coming out with brooms and that helps.”

City Cllr David McLean said: “People who work in all the shops come out the back for a fag, so it’s not just Costa. It’s all the smokers who work in the all the shops, so if the parish is going to write to one business, you have to write to them all.”