When a county council closed a town’s youth services it produced a list of things young people could do. The only thing in Buckfastleigh was the bowling club.

The south Devon town’s incoming mayor Andy Stokes said: “The bowling club is great but I don’t see teenagers queueing up to join.”

Cllr Stokes, recently elected chair of Buckfastleigh Town Council, said the problem had been compounded by Devon County Council cuts to bus subsidies, adding: “If they don’t have transport of their own, which most teenagers have not, they are stuck in the town.”

Residents have paid more council tax in the last two years, to help fund a skatepark and adventure playground. The town has also taken over the running of the swimming pool.

Cllr Stokes said the small, parish council could not continue asking residents to dip into their own pockets, to compensate for cuts being made by larger authorities.

“This is a poor town and of course being a poor town there is more need for services,” he said. “You cannot ask people to pay for their own services if they don’t have the resources to do that.”

“Over the year, we will continue involving more people in decision-making and getting the process of managing the town more inclusive and friendly and we will increase our support for the community groups that do such great work for the town.

“As a part of this, we are launching the new ‘Heart of Buckfastleigh’ festival in the Town Hall on Saturday, June 16, where we will be celebrating our town and all the people who do so much for our community, as well as handing out prizes, awards and free food! You wil be able to vote for the ‘Community Champion’ award over the next few weeks, so watch out for the polling

boxes around town and come along to the ‘Heart of Buckfastleigh’ and learn more about this vibrant place we live in.”

As well as town council chairman, Cllr Stokes will also serve as the town’s mayor.